“This is something that we definitely need to look at in terms of how the yearbook gets edited and proof-read,” Christine Paik, director of communications with the Poway Unified School District, told the Union-Tribune. “Even if it was unintentional, it was still hurtful to people, and we don’t want to do it again.”
“In using an historical map from the 1800’s of northern San Diego County, our staff and yearbook editors inadvertently used a background image for the cover of this year’s yearbook containing a highly offensive racial term,” principal Charan Kirpalani wrote in a letter to parents. “This was a reference to an area of San Diego County on Palomar Mountain which was once known as the home of a freed slave, and referred to with a very derogatory label.”
The mistake got noticed Monday, after students got their yearbooks. Staff members quickly collected about 1,000 books and scratched out the offensive word by hand.