South Pasadena High’s campus was “peppered with flyers,” as described by the school’s principal, Janet Anderson, in a memo to parents this week, referring to an incident on campus.
The posters “promoted a certain viewpoint,” wrote Anderson in her message.
In black capital letters the flyers read: “It’s Okay To Be White.”
Anderson, in her note to parents, said the “posters were left open to interpretation but, apparently, they were part of a global effort to promote a viewpoint centered on the dominance of one group over others.”
The principal explained in her message that the unauthorized posters were immediately removed and law enforcement was brought in to determine who posted them.
“Global, national and local events, including the discourse of our current election cycle, have definitely affected civil discourse,” wrote Anderson. “At SPHS, we try to teach from the perspective of ‘seek first to understand and then be understood.’ Unfortunately, in the heat of discord, that practice is sometimes lost. We often claim that our school’s greatest natural resource is our diversity – in socioeconomics, ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, and, yes, opinions. That diversity needs to be honored by allowing for different viewpoints to be heard and respectfully debated. Rather than assume that we know another’s position, we need to assume best intent and move forward from there in listening to others.”
Anderson said the school is looking for meaningful ways to bring more dialogue to campus to address some of these key issues. “Merely posting volatile messages to elicit a reaction is not productive,” she said. “As always, our focus is on a safe school environment, and that includes safety from hate speech or any messages that promote discrimination.”
Added South Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Geoff Yantz: “Anytime we have something like this, we do take it very seriously and work with local law enforcement to try an identify the perpetrator. It certainly does not represent who we are, what the school is about. It’s unfortunate.”
Yantz said the person responsible for posting the flyers has not been identified as authorities continue their investigation.
NBC News Los Angeles reported the story, indicating the perpetrator, wearing a mask, was caught on camera posting the flyers on Halloween night.