When the Golden Legend yearbook was passed out to seniors at San Pasqual High School in Escondido, it was the photos of the six Spanish teachers that raised eyebrows. The educators were dressed in ponchos and sombreros while holding fake mustaches to their mouths, prompting the principal to call their attire inappropriate.
“Cultural appropriation is offensive, whether it was intentional or not,” Principal Martin Casas wrote in a statement. “We owe an apology to our Latinx and Chicano community, a community that I am part of. It is unacceptable and has no place in our school. I am saddened and disappointed that this happened, but we will use it as opportunity to learn and grow together.”
The images were taken at the beginning of the school year for the teachers’ identification badges. The faculty in the World Languages Department picked attire they believed represented the languages they taught, with the images displayed on their ID cards and worn by the teachers for the entire school year.
The Spanish teachers, addressed as “Senora” and “Senor” in the yearbook, were pictured next to the French teacher, who wore a beret and was labeled as “Madame.” Her attire didn’t spark the same reaction that the Spanish teachers’ did, with many parents and students viewing the Spanish teachers’ images less as a tribute to Latino culture and more of a stereotypical caricature.
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