Still roughly two months until National Stereotyping Day—uh, Halloween, that is—but some Redlands, Calif., high school cheerleaders are getting an early start, posing as gang members for a team photo, reports KTLA 5.
The photo, which predictably has been making the rounds on social media, shows the group of girls posting as gang members, complete with sagging pants, caps, bandannas, fake tats and fake pregnant bellies.
According to the news station, the school district is looking into the photo and released the following statement from its superintendent:
I find this picture offensive, and this type of depiction will not be tolerated. I apologize that any Redland USD student organization would be involved in an activity of this type.
The circumstances surrounding the event and photo, including supervision, are being reviewed. We take this very seriously and I assure you that appropriate action will be taken once our review is completed.
Team building exercises such as dress-up days are to build spirit and camaraderie in a positive manner. They should never demean, insult, or portray negative stereotypes, as done in this photo.
Parents of students at the school are having mixed reactions to the photo. According to KTLA 5, some parents called the photo “really sad,” “racist” and “degrading,” while another parent insisted, “I think they’re just being teenagers, having fun, being silly.”
Read more at KTLA 5.