Smiling High-School Students Spell Out Racial Slur for Photo
Now there are calls for their expulsion
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2016 1:10 PM CST
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – People are calling for the expulsion of six Arizona high-school students after a photo of them wearing shirts spelling out a racial slur went viral Friday, the Arizona Republic reports. The photo shows the girls—all white—posing with their arms around each other while wearing T-shirts with the letters and symbols N, I, *, *, E, and R on them. According to KXNV, the students were part of a larger group that spelled out "BEST*YOU'VE*EVER*SEEN*CLASS*OF*2016" for senior picture day at Phoenix's Desert Vista High School. The photo quickly spread on social media, leading parents and others to complain to the school and media, the Republic reports. A Change.org petition calling for the expulsion of the students and firing of their principal quickly gained more than 11,000 signatures.

"They do not represent DV or the community as a whole," district spokesperson Jill Hanks tells the Republic. "These are six students who made a really bad decision." Hanks says the students will be disciplined, though she won't say what their punishment will entail. "It is unacceptable for any racial slur to be used regardless of intent," KXNV quotes a statement from the district's superintendent. "We need to understand that words matter." Ironically, Desert Vista has an unrelated "sensitivity workshop" scheduled for Monday. It apparently comes a day too late.