Canyon High's Mexi-Mocking "Dress Up Day" Scandal Grows; Concerned Students Told to Get Over It in Past

Don't even think of starting Comanche dress up day!
Having a 'Señores and Señoritas' theme during a high school 'cultural dress up' day can have disastrous results, and Canyon High School learned that lesson the hard way. As the Weekly exposed over the weekend, students came to the Anaheim Hills campus on Wednesday wearing Mexi-mocking attire while others posed as la migra.

After initially contacting the school for comment last week, Canyon Principal Greg Bowden forwarded a rather tepid statement yesterday regarding the incident. "One senior posted Facebook suggestions to dress like Mexicans,"  it read.

As you all now know, many followed through with the idea taking liberties to demean an entire ethnic group of people by arriving as stereotypical notions of cholos, cholas, pregnant teens and a pair of Border Patrol blondes to boot. They posed for pictures, making duck lips and mean mugs in some, while frontin' in the pat down position up against lockers they wouldn't have in the first place if on the real in others.

Oh, and, of course, there's always the now infamous YOLO cholo pretending to be detained by la migra!

The statement from Canyon High School contends that senior dress up week has been held for the last three years without any issues, not noting, however, what attire was considered appropriate in the past. "Waikiki Wednesday was also scheduled," Principal Bowden adds, reiterating that Hawaiian shirts were the most popular choice last week. He himself arrived in 'Chinese attire,' whatever that means.

As the original article noted, students who chose to perpetuate the worst stereotypes were reprimanded by the administration and made to change their clothing. The school assures that those who dressed inappropriately were dealt with appropriately. When pressed if that meant seniors were sent home, suspended, or face disciplinary action tied to participation in graduation ceremonies, Bowden didn't elaborate. "Student discipline is a confidential matter," he says.

Whatever the case may be, 'cultural dress up' day at Canyon High is no more. Without any cultural programming, the very idea itself seemed like an open invitation for desmadre and is, as we say, two tacos shy of a combo plate. After Wednesday's disaster, it will be discontinued for future school years as administration noted an ASB advisor apologized to staff on behalf of the behavior of their fellow students. As of press time, no other apologies were mentioned; perhaps more are in order.

The notion that senior spirit week's 'señores and señoritas' theme has been problem-free up until this year, or in the words of the principal, "always respectful in the past" (their idea of the past: having students dress up like conquistadors and "Spanish" dancers, proving that Carey McWilliams' "fantasy heritage" thesis is still alive and putrid!).  varies vastly with what Orange Unified School District Trustee Diane Singer has come to conclude. She was appalled when she learned of the incident (despite being in Anaheim Hills, Canyon pertains to Orange Unified, another effort to distance themselves from the flatlands of Anaheim and its Anaheim Union High School District). "Imagine how our Mexican-American and Latino students must have felt," she says. "It's heartbreaking." 

Singer took that viscerally correct reaction and met with concerned parents yesterday while maintaining communication with the OUSD Superintendent over the controversy. "I talked to a student who was there last year and the same thing happened," she reports. "A complaint was made about the theme and the tone and they were told to get a sense of humor by someone from the staff leadership team."

"They've known about this year after year and they don't even have the cultural sensitivity to address it or even have an issue with it," Singer adds. "An offended party is planning to lodge a formal complaint with the Superintendent's office so we can get an investigation going."

All that's missing is a blue rag...

The Orange County Human Relations Commission has also been made aware of the situation. Maybe the BRIDGES Program or a 'walk a day in my house shoes' conference is headed your way Anaheim Hills!

To the unrepentant mocosos who think it all just a harmless joke, this should be a moment of serious self-reflection on your part--but this is OC, and that's wishful thinking. Instead, I immediately thought of you, and not in an endearing way, when I saw the dubious and timely image on this graduation card (pictured left) the other day!

To the graduating students of Canyon High who rightly felt outraged by this incident, ustedes provide hope for the future. It doesn't really get better, sadly, but maintain a sense of humor as well as justice, and you'll grow stronger along the way.

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