Minority students at Yucca Valley High School in California are worried that staged yearbook photographs of them holding fake knives, guns and bombs could haunt them in the future.
Beth Gonzales told KESQ that she was hoping to be remembered as “class clown,” but instead was voted “teacher’s worst nightmare.”
When Gonzales showed up for yearbook photos, she said that a teacher handed her a fake knife.
“How am I going to be looked at in the future?” Beth Gonzales explained. “Am I going to be that girl with the knife in the picture?”
Beth’s mother, Corinna Gonzales, accused the school of “racial profiling.”
“You’ve got a young black man with a gun, and a young Hispanic girl with a knife,” she pointed out.
After online comments tried to link the yearbook photo to ISIS, the family began to worry that Beth’s hope of joining the Navy could be in jeopardy.
“I mean how is the military going to accept me if I represent ISIS?” Beth Gonzales wondered.
While Corinna Gonzales said that no one from the school system had returned her calls, Superintendent Tom Baumgarten insisted to KESQ that he was concerned about the photos.
“In today’s world, there may be many interpretations of a picture,” Baumgarten admitted. “But anything that has a gun or a knife portrayed in a school setting can cause people concerns.”
“We have talked to the advisor. There was no malicious intent by the advisor, the students, the administration, or the district to portray anybody in a negative manor,” he added. “We apologize if it did.”
Baumgarten said that the school has no plans to reprint the yearbooks.
Watch the video below from KESQ, broadcast May 30, 2016.