A tradition at an Anaheim high school has been nixed after officials deemed in offensive to the Latino community, calling it “hurtful and demeaning”.
For years, Canyon High School senior activity week has included a dress-up day in which seniors (those in their fourth year of high school, not the elderly) dress up as “Seniores” and “Senioritas” for school-held events.
In a letter summarizing her investigation into the complaints filed regarding the event, Aileen M. Sterling, executive director of secondary education for the Orange Unified School District, wrote:
I conclude there was a lack of oversight/supervision and that the school administration should not have allowed this activity.
Even if strict guidelines were provided, he result would still lead to hurtful and demeaning messages about the Mexican culture and to the students of the Mexican, Hispanic and Latino descent.
The event had students dress up in stereotypical Latino garb, with many choosing the “cholo” or gang member look for their costumes. Others have dressed as landscapers/gardeners, with some of the girls even showing up pushing strollers as if they were teen moms. Photos of the event have even appeared in the school’s yearbooks.
Students had reportedly gone to teachers and other school officials before one ultimately filed a formal complaint when he learned the event was to occur again this year.
Canyon High School’s student body is about 16 percent Latino/Hispanic, and 8 percent of the faculty is Latino/Hispanic.
The high school’s administrators have been told they have to undergo diversity/sensitivity training. Ethnic studies will now be offered and an International Week is planned for sometime in the 2012-2013 school year.