California Students Receive 'Severe Consequences' for Racist Promposal

Two students in California will receive “severe consequences” after a picture of them holding a racist “promposal” sign went viral on social media.

In a picture obtained by the Los Angeles Times, it shows a male and a female student from Palos Verdes High School in Southern California laughing while holding a sign that reads “Bianca You are racist, but I would give anything for you to go with me to prom.” The sign also highlights six letters that spell out a racial slur.

The photo was reportedly posted to Instagram and Twitter, though it’s unclear who posted the photos, KNBC reported. The unidentified female student issued an apology late Wednesday, writing that she was “ashamed” and noted that she and three other people involved in the sign were “punished.”

In a statement on the high school’s website, Principal Dr. Allan Tyner said that he met with students in each classroom on Wednesday to discuss the harm of racial slurs. “We will review appropriate behavior and how the use of hurtful racial slurs like the one used on this recent picture posted on social media is unacceptable. I know that this one unfortunate event does not represent us as a school community,” the statement read. “Racist words and racist acts have no place in our school community. We will rise above this, learn from this, and be a better school community because of it.”

In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, school officials said that the two students in the photo “should anticipate severe consequences.” “At this time, I am asking all teachers and parents in our school community to join me in reminding our students that we live in a society that must respect diversity and tolerance,” Tyner told the publication. “Indeed, this life lesson is critical and is one that school and home must partner to teach.”

In a post on Facebook, the Palos Verdes Estates Police Department (PVPD) stated that officers interviewed the person who made the sign and posted it online. PVPD also investigated the social media response to the racist promposal, which included a threat toward the school. The department determined that the post was “not intending any violence, rather it was meant as a (inappropriate) joke.”

“We take these matters seriously and follow up on social media postings that directly or indirectly relate to violence, especially violence that may threaten our children,” the police department wrote. “Lesson to be learned: Think before you post!”

Earlier this month, another racist promposal picture surfaced on social media. In a photo obtained by the Mansfield News Journal, an unidentified student from Ohio stands next to a girl with a sign that read, “If I was Black I’d be picking cotton, but I’m white so I’m picking U for prom!”

Clear Fork Valley Local Schools Superintendent Janice Wyckoff told the publication that the student will not be allowed to attend Clear Fork High School’s prom. Wyckoff said the student, who lives in the district but goes to a different school, was “spoken to” about the hateful speech displayed on the poster. “I want to make it clear that our school district is disappointed in this situation,” Wyckoff wrote in a statement to the News Journal. “Our student body should not be defined by a single act of a student, who did not think his action through. This is a teachable moment for this student in particular and for all students.”

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.