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Phoenix-area high schoolers raise eyebrows with questionable photo

PHOENIX — A group of Phoenix-area high school students is facing punishment after a questionable photo made the rounds on social media Friday.

The photo, sent to KTAR News by a parent, shows six girls posing and lined up spelling out “N-I-*-*-E-R” in what looks like gold tape on black T-shirts, in what is likely a reference to a racial slur.

Based on other social media posts, the students were a small part of a much larger group of girls that spelled out “BEST*YOU’VE*EVER*SEEN*CLASS*OF*2016” outside of Desert Vista High School in Phoenix. Officials said the group was taking a senior class photo that consisted of more than 700 students.

The school’s student media Twitter account sent out the following tweet just after 11 a.m.

“Words cannot express how outraged and disappointed we are at the district level, at the school level, the student body,” Jill Hanks, executive director of community relations for the Tempe Union High School District, said.

The school will punish the students, but disciplinary actions are not disclosed per district policy. However, Hanks said at least one portion will include sensitivity training.

“I can tell you that there’s an obvious need for sensitivity training here and we will definitely be addressing that,” she said.

Hanks was unsure if the girls had a disciplinary history, but said she had yet to speak with them.

“This is six students out of 3,100,” she said. “It is not reflective of Desert Vista or of the district.”

KTAR’s Corbin Carson contributed to this report.

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