A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations on Sunday expressed concern over a recent incident in Rancho Cucamonga, where a Muslim student was misidentified as “Isis Phillips” in Los Osos High School’s yearbook.
“For this kind of incident to happen not only impacts your school experience but connects her to a reprehensible terrorist organization that nobody should be linked to,” CAIR’s Haroon Manjlai said in an interview, referring to the Islamic State group.
The 11th-grader, Bayan Zehlif, took to social media early Friday evening, posting an image that shows her yearbook photo — in which she is smiling and wearing a hijab — above the incorrect name.
“I guess I’m Isis in the yearbook…,” Zehlif wrote on Twitter.
About two hours later, the school's yearbook staff tweeted an apology.
“We are extremely sorry for what occurred in the Yearbook,” the statement said. “It is our duty to represent the students of Los Osos High School and by mis-tagging and giving the incorrect name, we failed to do so. We should have checked each name carefully in the book and we had no intention to create this misunderstanding.
“It is our fault and this is absolutely inexcusable on our part,” the statement continued. “We are currently working in coordination with the school and district office to remedy this situation.”
About 90 minutes after the apology was published, Zehlif, on her Facebook page, posted the same image of the yearbook photo and its erroneous caption.
“I am extremely saddened, disgusted, hurt and embarrassed that the Los Osos High School yearbook was able to get away with this,” she wrote. “Apparently I am ‘Isis’ in the yearbook. The school reached out to me and had the audacity to say that this was a typo. I beg to differ, let’s be real.”
As of Sunday evening, Zehlif’s tweet and her Facebook post had each been retweeted and shared, respectively, more than 3,400 times.
On Saturday, Susan Petrocelli, the High School’s principal, also used social media to issue an apology.
“LOHS is taking every step possible to correct & investigate a regrettable misprint discovered in the yearbook,” Petrocelli stated on Twitter. “We sincerely apologize.”
Superintendent Mat Holton, of the Chaffey Joint Union High School District, said Zehlif was misidentified as another student named Isis, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“If they find that a student acted irresponsibly and intentionally, administration will take appropriate actions,” Holton told the newspaper, adding that 287 yearbooks had been distributed to Los Osos seniors. “The school will assure students, staff and the community that this regrettable incident in no way represents the values, or beliefs, of Los Osos High School.”
Zehlif, her family and CAIR officials were scheduled to meet with district officials Monday morning, according to the Muslim advocacy group.