Though school administrators reacted to the situation that day, two formal complaints were filed by a former and current student at the time with the Orange Unified School District (where Canyon High pertains to) as this type of activity took place in the past and nothing was done about it.
One lodged by Jared Garcia-Kessler stated the actions of students that day on June 6 and the year before were racist and offensive to his culture. He also alleged that Mexi-mocking photos were even published in yearbooks. Canyon's student body demographic breakdown largely mirrors the mostly white surroundings of the Hills.
In her probe, Aileen M. Sterling, Executive Director of Secondary Eduction for OUSD, examined photographs, conducted interviews and, of course, read my Navel Gazing reporting. Based upon the evidence, she concluded that “there was a lack of oversight/supervision and that the school administration should have never allowed this activity.”
You think! She went on to write that, “even if strict guidelines were provided the result would still lead to hurtful and demeaning messages about the Mexican culture and to students of the Mexican, Hispanic, and Latino descent.”
Canyon High Principal Greg Bowden claimed to the Weekly in June that Senior dress up day had been held for “3 years prior with no issues.” That turned out not to be fact, but a straight up mentira as the investigation found that in 2011 “some students had dressed inappropriately (border patrol and INS agents) but not to the extreme that occurred in 2012” and other students told the Weekly this sort of Mexi mock-up had been going on for years.
The fallout from all of this? Plenty! For starters, all Señores and Señoritas pendejadas are permanently eliminated from senior spirit week now and forevermore. Sorry kids, you can no longer play dress-up as cholos, pregnant teenagers, jardineros, and la migra on campus! If you want to do that, you'll have to come to the flats and see how that all works out given everything that's happened this summer.
In addition, cultural appreciation will be inserted into history class discussions and activities during “International Week.” An Ethnic Studies elective community college course will also be offered to students.
For the higher-ups, among other things, Canyon High School Administration will have to undergo diversity/sensitivity training this year. May I suggest viewing A Better Life starring Oscar-nominated actor Demián Bichir for starters? It's a film that could make even a Know Nothing like Lou Dobbs turn on the waterworks!
The actions of district employees as it pertains to the complaints will be forwarded along to the Human Resources Department for further review. Any disciplinary measures taken will remain a confidential matter.
Gabriel San Roman is from Anacrime. He’s a journalist, subversive historian and tallest Mexican in OC.