PHOENIX — In January, a photo of six Phoenix high school girls spelling out a racial term went viral.
In May, Desert Vista High School was back in the news after it devoted two pages of its annual yearbook to cover the incident.
The spread features the panoramic photo that started the whole debacle. A group of girls wore black t-shirts with gold lettering to spell out “BEST*YOU’VE*EVER*SEEN*CLASS*OF*2016” and were positioned in the front row.
Prior to snapping the class photo, six of them got together and spelled out “N-I-*-*-E-R” to send to someone over SnapChat, a popular messaging application.
The photo quickly spread around social media and ignited an international firestorm focused on the Ahwatukee school.
Think pieces were written. Protests happened. A former teacher claiming racism ran rampant at the school. The former principal of the school denied it. The head of the local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was fired during the backlash, but for unrelated reasons.
Basically, the photo — and the resulting coverage — was omnipresent in the media for weeks. It was a major story that thrust the entire school into the international spotlight.
As it had a large impact on the school year, the incident was featured in the annual yearbook. But as Fox 10’s Miller reported, some students requested to have the pages in question glued together.
But it appears the school tried to turn the incident into a teaching moment. In addition to the class photo, the school included a timeline of the events of the photo to show how fast things spread on social media and a section showing how the photo encouraged students to become better, more tolerant people.
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