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Blacks Given ‘Ghetto’ Names in SoCal Yearbook

COVINA, Calif.

 Phony “ghetto” names were printed under a yearbook photo of Black Student Union members, leaving some angry Charter Oak High School students and parents calling for an apology and a reprint.

“Tay Tay Shaniqua,” “Crisphy Nanos” and “Laquan White” were among the nine names placed next to the club’s photo in the 2008 Chronicle, Charter Oak Unified School District Superintendent Clint Harwick said.

“We are discussing the intent and impact of the student’s actions,” Harwick said. “The first step was to remedy the issue.”

The incident was “atrocious,” school board President Joseph M. Probst said.

“I am sure the students will be spoken to and given an apology if they haven’t been already,” he said.

“They were very ghetto and slangish and it was just very inappropriate,” student Evanne Jackson said.

School ended about two weeks ago and authorities said the names were only discovered after the yearbooks were handed out. Students were given printed stickers with the correct names to put into the yearbook but Jordan Smith, a BSU member, said the books should be recalled and reprinted.

“A yearbook is very significant and something you always hold on to,” said Toi Jackson, whose daughter, Evanne, is a BSU member. “When she shows it to her kids she will have to explain why she has the name Crisphy.”

“Someone was just trying to be funny but it’s not funny,” she said. “It’s upsetting. It’s a mistake that should not have been overlooked.”

Some students and officials said they believed the names were changed as a prank.

However, an e-mail to a writer for the San Gabriel Valley Tribune claimed the names were “filler text,” used when the yearbook was being designed. The names were supposed to be replaced, the writer said, but the page was never corrected and the mistake got through a proof reader.

“In no way, fashion, or method were these names meant to be printed,” the e-mail said.

The district office and the school were both closed Friday.

Probst said earlier in the week that “appropriate actions will be taken,” but a call to the superintendent Friday was not immediately returned.

The high school has 2,000 students. About 45 percent are Hispanic, 30 percent white and 4.5 percent are black, school officials said.

Covina is 30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

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