‘Inappropriate’ superlatives prompt recall of California high school yearbook

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Ventura High School tried to cover up the “most likely to be canceled” and “most likely to get Covid twice” labels with stickers. Distribution of the yearbook stopped when students found ways to remove them.

A California high school has recalled its yearbooks after students discovered they contained offensive superlatives.

Last week, Ventura High School parent Stephanie Tindall shared on Facebook that when her daughter received her yearbook, she was surprised to see she had been voted “most likely to be the best dancer” and “most likely to be a movie star” because it seemed “random.”

When the student shared her confusion on Snapchat, another student told her those superlatives were stickers, and to pull off the stickers to see the real labels underneath.

Tindall wrote that her daughter, who had been bullied throughout the year, was “shocked and upset” to find that her name and photo actually appeared with the “most likely to be canceled” and “most likely to get Covid twice” superlatives.

She was one of three students listed next to both superlatives. The names and photos of three more students appeared under the “most likely to get Covid twice” label.

On Friday, the school’s principal wrote in a message to parents that the books would be recalled and reissued. “When our yearbooks arrived last week, our administrative team noticed some inappropriate content that should not have made it through the approval process. We immediately worked to take corrective action and contacted the yearbook company,” principal Carlos V. Cohen explained.

The yearbook company recommended using labels that were supposed to be highly adhesive and, if attempted to be removed, would rip the page so that the content below would be destroyed,” Cohen wrote. “We tested them, and it appeared to work.”

When the school administration learned that students were able to remove the labels without ripping the page, distribution of the yearbook stopped. Cohen asked that students return their yearbook if they already picked one up.

Cohen said the district will now train principals and yearbook staff on policies and the correct approval process. “On behalf of the entire school, our yearbook staff, and our District, I am very sorry this has occurred,” Cohen wrote. “You are all special, unique, and should be seen in the best possible light.”

Elisha Fieldstadt | Contributed

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