In Indiana, a Brown County High School faculty member has been suspended without pay after allegedly labeling a minority student as “Black Guy” in the high school’s yearbook. An investigation into the incident that was launched revealed that the person may have been the one who labeled the student this way, although the investigation hasn’t revealed the names of either the students involved or the adult teacher. However, the school district believes that the person behind the incident was the faculty advisor and not the students. Also, this educator is no longer in charge of the yearbook staff, the district reports.
The entire incident came to light after a parent notified district Superintendent Dr. Laura Mammack to report that a student was identified as “Black Guy” in the school’s 2020 yearbook and that the student, a male, didn’t have a listed name in the yearbook. In Hammack’s initial response, she said this: “This has been a hard day, but what is most important is that this has been a really hard day for a student and for a family. We will work hard to make sure that a student and a family who are experiencing what they’re experiencing today don’t need to experience the same feelings moving forward.”
— ReddQueen (@myhunnybee) October 24, 2020
The superintendent added: “I just commit to our school community that we will be relentless in making this right and making this a moment that we can certainly look back on and one day say we’re doing better. As an educator, my only response that I know to do is to dig in, to learn more, and to use resources to be able to advance our understanding and awareness so that we can do the same for our students.” Is that enough, though? Is it sufficient to make sure they never experience it again? I think this shows a deep-rooted problem in the district if any educator thought this would be even remotely acceptable.
An Indiana school superintendent has apologized after a Black student was simply listed as "Black Guy" in a high school yearbook https://t.co/zn0VBzqbDl
— CNN (@CNN) October 21, 2020
Following the investigation, the district released another statement to inform parents of what they discovered and to reveal their planned course of action. “Both the family of student and the former faculty advisor involved have committed to a restorative conference where the harm that was caused is acknowledged, the individual causing the harm is held accountable, and an honest discussion about the harm caused by this inexcusable act is conducted,” the statement read. The superintendent said during a Facebook Live video that the incident had been brought to her attention after a report from a parent, and it was after this video that the investigation was started.
As of now, the district is considering reprinting the 2020 yearbook and the school will cover the cost of redistribution if that’s the course they take. Watch this news video about the story below.