A Virginia high school graduation class banner featuring a collage of photos of each of the students is being criticized as racist because of the placement of students of color in the design.
Students at Yorktown High in Arlington pointed out that the dark outlines in the banner that form the “Y” is made up of students of color, while white students make up the lighter inset. Joseph Ramos, who is the outgoing editor of the student newspaper, the Yorktown Sentry showed the banner in a tweet on Thursday (May 20).
Since the outcry, the banner has been removed, but students at Yorktown took issue with the design of the banner saying in social media posts that it was racist and insensitive.
“I thoroughly don’t understand how Yorktown put forth such a racist banner,” one student said on social media, according to ARL.com. “I understand they were trying to do something nice for the seniors, but the execution was horrible. [People of color] shouldn’t be the outline and there are better ways to highlight the Y.”
An Arlington Public Schools spokesperson said the banner was generated by computer software that creates composite designs by using hundreds of images that were grouped together based on colors in the background.
Kevin Clark, the school’s principal said that the banner was not meant to be offensive to the student body and offered an apology, according to ARL.com.
“This banner does not appropriately reflect our graduating class or our values, and we sincerely apologize to any student who felt offended or marginalized,” Clark said. “We do not condone any activity or imagery that offends our students.”
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