May 2, 2019
Despite their large sombreros, two Florida teens are feeling the heat after they opted to dress up as Mexicans for “alien/extraterrestrial day” during their school’s recent spirit week.
The Pinellas County School District is investigating the teens after they came to Seminole High School for Extraterrestrial Day last Thursday with large sombreros, t-shirts and jeans. One of the teens also donned a large fake mustache, and pictures of the stunt went viral online, WFLA reports.
“The picture of their costumes was posted on social media along with a poll question. It read, ‘Was it wrong of us to dress as mexicans (sic) for extraterrestrial/alien day?’ The answers options were, ‘Yes, are you dumb’ or ‘No, that’s funny,’” according to the news site.
As the teens made their rounds at school, the image made rounds on Twitter, and the two were soon confronted by school administrators who were not impressed with their creativity.
Students told WFLA the teens, both boys, wore their costumes for most of the day, but district spokeswoman Lisa Wolf-Chason told Bay News 9 administrators eventually confiscated the sombreros and the mustache when they learned about controversy.
Regardless, the unidentified teens were allowed to complete the school day, though it’s unclear how much of the school day was left, or what other punishment they received.
“Unfortunately, two students exercised poor judgement and wore an outfit that was offensive,” Wolf-Chason wrote in a prepared statement. “Cultural insensitivity is not tolerated at Seminole High School.”
She refused to discuss whether school officials disciplined the students involved.
“The choices of these students were disappointing and are not reflective of the Seminole High community,” Wolf-Chason wrote. “Pinellas County Schools will follow the Student Code of Conduct to address this issue.”
Domingo Garcia, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, was particularly offended by the teens’ silly stunt, and he’s calling for folks to ban the phrase “illegal alien.”
“We need to make sure that they understand it’s not just a joke. Bullying and especially bigotry bullying is not a joke,” he said.
“We’re talking about immigrants, refugees, who are coming across the border, women and children,” Garcia complained to Bay News 9. “To try to put them in that category of ‘aliens,’ somebody different, somebody not like us. Again, plays into that division and that bigotry that we’ve seen too much in this country.”
Several current and former students at the school told the news site the teens should have known better.
“They knew damn well it was potentially offensive to do what they did,” graduate Denni Romulo said. “This is racist and demeaning and I won’t shut up about it.”
“I’m not allowed to wear holes in my jeans or leggings to school, but kids are allowed to dress completely racist?” student Madeline Harnisher questioned, apparently unaware that the students were forced by school officials not to “dress completely racist.”
“It just amazes me how messed up our school is,” she said.
This article was posted: Thursday, May 2, 2019 at 5:47 am