LOCAL L.A. Now

San Diego football coaches, teacher suspended for wearing blackface

SAN DIEGO -- Two high school football coaches and a teacher are each being suspended for two days without pay after posting pictures on Facebook showing themselves wearing blackface and costumes meant to mimic the famed Jamaican bobsled team, school officials announced Friday.

Cindy Marten, superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District, announced the suspensions flanked by officials from the local chapter of the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League.

Marten said the three have "expressed a deep sense of remorse" and added that they have said they will not contest the suspensions.

"They send their apologies to any person or group of people they have offended," she said.

The three work at Serra High School. The costumes were worn at a Halloween party last weekend.

"The incident at Serra High represents a critical teachable moment and reminds us as a community and a district of the importance of recognizing and appreciating multiple perspectives," Marten said.

The National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People and the Anti-Defamation League had protested that wearing blackface and posting pictures on the Internet showed intolerance and racial insensitivity.

Marten said the district would continue to provide anti-bias diversity training, particularly at Serra High. The timing of the suspensions is up to the school principal.

"We applaud the strong leadership of the school district in taking this opportunity to further educate the San Diego community regarding sensitivity and respect for all people," said Tammy Gillies, San Diego regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.

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Twitter: @LATsandiego

tony.perry@latimes.com

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