Screenshot: KHOU 11

Who approved this?

A Texas high school is feeling the heat after a group of students arrived on campus dressed as “thugs”—in cornrows, fake tattoos, chains and the like—as part of Spirit Week or, as they renamed it, “Thug Day.”

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Photos of the students dressed as so-called thugs at Houston’s Memorial High School this year and in years past went viral, causing outrage on social media, KHOU 11 reports.

On Twitter, users called the students’ behavior racially offensive and insensitive and pointed to instances where black students wearing similar attire or hair styles in real life had been punished.

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The corruption of Spirit Week has apparently been a thing for awhile, with one former student, Monica Day, telling KHOU:

“Thug day” became the not-so-hidden meaning for the day, complete with secret flyers, according to former student Monica Day.

Day said back in 2015, the official term was “senior swag day,” which again perpetuated stereotypes.

“We also used to have “Senioritas” which was a Mexican theme day in which many girls would wear Mexican dresses and boys would wear ponchos, sombreros and fake mustaches,” Day said. “During the theme day students would ‘act Mexican’ and ask other students if they needed their lawns mowed. One female student who I will not name went so far as to dress as a border patrol officer at school.”

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Now authorities at Memorial High say the so-called Thug Day wasn’t sanctioned by school officials, and they’ve canceled the remaining days of Spirit Week as a result.

According to the Houston Chronicle, schools authorities said the following in a statement:

“Memorial High School has a longstanding tradition for its rising juniors to have special dress days during the week before finals to celebrate the fact that this student class will soon be seniors,” according to the statement. “...On Tuesday, some rising juniors wore inappropriate dress and body/hair decorations as part of an alternative, unapproved response to the theme day. As a shared expectation about the theme was clearly violated, MHS has cancelled all remaining dress theme days for the remainder of this week.”

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Hmmm. But since “Thug Day” as “Spirit Week” has apparently been going down for a number of years, maybe, just maybe, the school needs to go on and cancel “Spirit Week” for good — at least until everyone cleanses theirs.