Offensive comment in Berkeley High yearbook sparks outrage on campus
BERKELEY, Calif. (KTVU) - At Berkeley High School, there is a lot of anger these days. But mostly a lot of students feeling hurt.
"Very racist, very hurtful," said one Latina Berkeley High School student.
"It made me think about how people really see me," said an African-American student.
At the center of the storm is an offensive comment someone apparently sneaked into the just-published student yearbook.
The comment was about one of the school's college prep programs that has mostly African-American and Latino students enrolled.
The version that was supposed to go into the yearbook originally described the program as "making our future nurses, physicians, fire chiefs and innovators of tomorrow,"
But before publication someone changed the phrase "innovators of tomorrow" to "trash collators (sic) of tomorrow."
No one caught the alteration until the yearbook went out. Word spread throughout the campus.
"Absolutely racist. Anyone who thinks someone is going to study to be a trash collator or collector has some delusion people are going to apply to college to become that," said interim principal Kristin Glennchur.
"They're kind of saying we are going to be a disgrace. We're going to be low on knowledge and education," said student Melissa Solano.
The school is trying to get to the bottom of how the comment got in the yearbook. Berkeley High has recalled all 160 yearbooks that went out.
"We won't re-distribute yearbooks until we get them all back," said Glenchur.
The school principal equated what happened to bullying. She says if those responsible are caught they could face suspension.
The new yearbook that will be going out will have a sticker over the offending comment that contains a more positive message.
But for some it's a Band-Aid covering a deep wound.
"I'll still have the idea of it. And I'll remember it always," said senior Jace White.