14 St. Ignatius students suspended for participation in party that played on racial stereotype

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A private San Francisco high school is reeling from a controversial party that some of its students attended on Saturday, January 23rd.

14 St. Ignatius College Prep School students - both boys and girls - are suspended for taking part in a party where the theme was for everyone to dress in stereotypically African-American gear.

The school is predominantly white. "We have 57 percent of our students [who] identify as white and 43 percent [who] identify themselves as people of color," said Principal Patrick Ruff.

Officials here say on Saturday night, a group of mostly upperclassmen met up with students from several other schools for a party in Stern Grove.

"It was a gathering with a very inappropriate theme, where students dressed up and promoted very poor stereotypes of black culture," added Ruff.

Pictures from the party ended up on social media, and other students informed the staff that the party had taken place.

Now it's the talk of campus.

"I was kind of surprised that people I know and people that go to this school would do that kind of thing," said freshman Alexa Toliver.

Freshman Kris Johnson added, "I find it really unfair to most African-American students I mean, they shouldn't be treated like that."

Parents were disappointed that the kids who took part made such a bad decision. "It's unfortunate that we still in 2016 kind of have these stereotypical views of certain people," said African American parent Rory Toliver.

Principal Ruff says the school is taking this issue head on. "As painful and as challenging and as hard as this is, we don't want to shy away from it."

Beyond suspending the students for several days, the administration is using this as a teaching moment. "We addressed the student body today, and then we had informal gatherings, we had some at lunch and then after school," explained Ruff.

The student body will also come together in a school-wide meeting next week to promote understanding and healing.