After complaints, ‘Seniores’ and ‘Señoritas’ events at Canyon High in Anaheim Hills, where students wore costumes demeaning to Latinos, are canceled.
“Seniores” and “Señoritas” events held at an Anaheim high school — in which students dressed as gang members and a pregnant woman pushing a baby stroller — have been canceled after officials concluded the activities were demeaning toward Latinos and their culture.
The events, which have been held for at least three years at Canyon High School, took place during senior activity week in June and were approved by campus administrators, according to school district officials.
The event was canceled after the Orange Unified School District launched an internal investigation in June in response to two complaints filed by former students.
“I conclude there was a lack of oversight/supervision and that the school administration should not have allowed this activity,” Aileen M. Sterling, executive director of secondary education for the district, wrote in an Aug. 10 letter summarizing her inquiry.
“Even if strict guidelines were provided,” Sterling said, “the result would still lead to hurtful and demeaning messages about the Mexican culture and to the students of the Mexican, Hispanic and Latino descent.”
Former student Jared Garcia-Kessler, 19, who graduated last year, said he complained to a teacher in 2011 but decided to file a formal complaint after he learned the event was held again at the Anaheim Hills school.
“Enough was enough,” Garcia-Kessler told The Times on Wednesday evening. “I was hurt.”