Monday July 22nd, 2024 1:49PM

Gwinnett High School investigating racist photo in student yearbook

By Austin Eller News Director

Collins Hill High School in Gwinnett County is investigating after it was brought to the staff's attention that a racist photograph was included in the 2019-20 student yearbook.

The edited image depicts a young man standing next to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as he holds a fake hall pass from King that reads "official n-word pass."

The school's principal, Kerensa Wing, issued an apology on Wednesday where she stated the school was conducting an investigation into who submitted the photograph, and how it was able to make it into the final print version of the yearbook. 

"I am disappointed in the students involved, as this is not who we are at Collins Hill High School and does not reflect our values and beliefs," Wing says in a letter to families and staff members.

After an initial investigation, Wing said some of the pages planned for the yearbook were not finished prior to students moving to digital learning. As a result, the yearbook company, Herff Jones, replaced the unfinished pages with senior selfies that had been submitted. 

"Unfortunately, the picture was not caught in the final proof before the yearbook went to press," Wing said. "That said, this photo was submitted by our yearbook staff and we are meeting with those involved to determine how that occurred."

Wing said the school is working with the yearbook company to create a replacement sticker which will be sent to all who purchased a yearbook. Collins Hill will block the image in copies of the yearbook that have not yet been distributed. 

“We also will be reviewing all of our yearbook processes— from the submission of photos to final proofing—to ensure this does not occur again,” Wing said.

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