Chicago High School Yearbook Had Photos of Students Flashing White Supremacist Signs so Board Spent $53K to Print New Ones
Ewan Palmer, Newsweek, May 22, 2019
A school is Chicago will spend tens of thousands of dollars reprinting its 2018-19 yearbook after several photos contained students posing with a hand gesture which has links to white supremacy.
Administrators at the Oak Park and River Forest High School announced it will spend a total of $53,794 to replace the 1,750 copies of “Tabula” after staff found 18 photos of students making an upside down OK hand sign.
In a letter sent to the community, Superintendent Joylynn Pruitt-Adams said while the seemingly innocuous gesture could be interpreted as students of “various races, ethnicities, genders, and grades” playing what is known as the circle game, the upside down OK hand sign has also become associated with white nationalism and the far-right.
“I want to be clear that we are not making any presumptions about students’ intent in using the gesture,” Pruitt-Adams wrote. “Regardless of intent, however, there is a real and negative impact. Many students, not only our students of color, experience this gesture as a symbol of white supremacy. Potentially subjecting our students to this trauma is simply not acceptable.
“We are concerned that the gesture will become more closely associated with White supremacy in the future. Publishing the photos in question could not only harm students today but could subject students to potentially a lifetime of questions or penalty from colleges, employers, etc.”