School Apologizes For Confederate-Inspired Student Yearbook Quote

The unnamed student wrote "The South will rise again" — a common expression used in the Jim Crow era of racism in the U.S. Some people argue the apology is censorship.

A high school in Casa Grande, Arizona, is apologizing after printing out yearbooks that contained a controversial quote from one of the senior students.

The quote from the student, whose identity is not being released, referenced the American Civil War, and read, “The South will rise again.” The phrase, although originally associated with defeated Confederate soldiers following the war’s end, also has ties to the Jim Crow era of racism in the United States.

Vista Grande High School immediately sought to retract the student quote, replacing copies of the yearbook with new ones that omit the phrase from below the student’s picture. About 10 percent of the yearbooks were delivered to students before the mistake was caught.

“We apologize, as this in no way represents the view of Vista Grande High School,” administrators wrote in a Facebook post.

That post has since been deleted, and a deluge of one-star ratings for the high school, many from individuals who are out of state and never attended Vista Grande, have inundated their Facebook page, claiming the school has censored the student’s statement.

A separate Twitter post is still published and contains part of the Facebook apology.

While a student’s First Amendment rights ought to be respected in most cases, that isn’t the issue here. The school released a publication — the yearbook itself — which is meant to be a positive reflection of the activities and events that went on during the school year. The student’s quote is clearly not what the school had in mind, and removing those words doesn’t impede the student’s right to free expression.

The ignorant attitudes of those criticizing the school ought to be addressed by the administrators and teachers directly inside the classrooms of Vista Grande High School. This is a perfect moment to teach students what those words entail, as well as to have a frank and robust discussion about racism that still runs rampant throughout our nation.

 Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Brian Snyder/Reuters

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