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Racist 'promposal' spurs principal to discuss 'appropriate behavior'

Jaclyn Cosgrove and Hannah Fry, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES -- Following outrage over a social media post involving two Palos Verdes High School teens holding a sign that bears a racial epithet, the school's principal said Wednesday he will visit classrooms to discuss the incident.

Principal Allan Tyner wrote in a letter posted on the school's website that he plans to meet with all students to "review appropriate behavior and how the use of hurtful racial slurs like the one used on this recent picture posted on social media is unacceptable."

The photograph, posted by several users on Twitter and Instagram, shows two young people who attend Palos Verdes High School standing together and laughing near a brick driveway. It is not clear when the photo was taken.

The boy in the photograph is said to have just delivered a "promposal," asking the girl to the annual dance through a sign that reads: "Bianca You are racist, but I would give anything for you to go with me to prom."

Six extra-large letters within the message on the sign clearly spell out the "N-word."

Palos Verdes High School will host its prom, with the theme "Wish Upon a Star," on Saturday.


"I know that this one unfortunate event does not represent us as a school community," Tyner wrote in the letter. "Racist words and racist acts have no place in our school community. We will rise above this, learn from this, and be a better school community because of it."

Several students and parents have demanded in online posts that the school investigate the photograph.

Tyner wrote in a statement to The Times that school officials were made aware of the prom invitation "that incorporated a slang term for African-Americans and features two of our high school students" on Tuesday. The statement sparked additional outrage from some who said the racial slur used in the invitation is offensive and shouldn't be referred to merely as slang.

Tyner added that the two students and their families have been contacted by the school "to inform them that we are forming a response and anticipate severe consequences."


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