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O.C. school district investigates poster that seemingly mocks Latino students

A social media post of an Orange County student seemingly mocking Latino students at a rival school has prompted an investigation by the district and outraged parents and community members.

The screenshot shows a student at Yorba Linda High School holding up a poster that says, “ur dad is my GARDENER,” apparently aimed at the students at Esperanza High School ahead of the schools’ football game Friday.

The student population at Esperanza High for the 2020-21 school year was 37% Latino, according to the school’s website. At Yorba Linda High School, the Latino population was 19%, according to the school’s website.

In an email sent to the Yorba Linda High School community, Principal Richard Dinh denounced the poster and social media post.

Neither was “sanctioned or condoned by any Yorba Linda High School personnel…. It is with zero hesitancy that I say the content of this poster and social media post do not reflect the values of Yorba Linda High School and the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District,” Dinh wrote in the email sent Tuesday. “Any and all forms of discrimination or discriminatory language have no place on our campus.”

According to the email, investigations have been launched by campus and district administrators.

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Dinh could not be reached for further comment.

“A picture of an individual holding the poster in question is now circulating on social media; however, the physical poster was never shared publicly on campus,” a statement from the school district said. “Per the Education Code, matters related to student discipline are confidential; therefore, additional information will not be shared.”

The picture of the poster spread quickly on social media, prompting backlash from community members, parents and students, who said it highlights larger issues about the importance of ethnic studies in the district.

Parent Leah Davis said she first saw the screenshot circulating on private Facebook groups. “It was disgraceful and it proved how I feel living in this community … a community that is a bit racist,“ she said.

Davis, a member of the district’s equity committee last year, said the incident underscores the need for ethnic studies in schools, a topic that has been debated heavily in Orange County in recent months.

Similarly, students have pushed to get more books by diverse authors in the curriculum and to get the district to implement anti-racism training for teachers and the elective ethnic studies course.

“I fully support ethnic studies. I think it’s important for students, these kids to understand and have the knowledge and the education of where other ethnicities come from,” Davis said.

According to Davis, parents in the Facebook group where the screenshot was shared said the poster was disgraceful.

Davis, who has a student at a neighboring middle school, said the incident has affected her decision to send her children to Yorba Linda High School. But, she added, “We’re still in the same district…. This could have happened at any one of our schools.”


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