A Georgia high school said it is investigating how a doctored photo of Martin Luther King Jr. with the N-word in it was published in its yearbook.
The photo shows King with a hand on the shoulder of a student who is holding a sheet of paper that reads, “Official N-word pass.”
The paper resembles a hall pass, apparently from King and allowing the student to use racist language. King’s signature appears below the words, “Given by: Black speech n—-.”
In a letter addressed to families and staff, Kerensa Wing, the principal at Collins Hill High School — in Suwanee, about 35 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta — apologized and pledged to find out who submitted the photo and how it was missed before going to print.
Wing said the photo was “inappropriate and racist” and “we will take appropriate action with those involved.”
The principal said it appears that some of the pages planned for the yearbook were not finished prior to printing.
“As these photos were not available, the yearbook company replaced those pages with senior selfies that had been submitted,” she said.
The photo was not caught in the final proof before the yearbook went to press, she said.
“That said, this photo was submitted by our yearbook staff and we are meeting with those involved to determine how that occurred,” she said.
Wing said those who have already received a yearbook will be sent a replacement photo to hide the photo and that the image has been altered “to block the offensive message” from those that have yet to be distributed.
“We also will be reviewing all of our yearbook processes — from the submission of photos to final proofing — to ensure this does not occur again,” Wing said.
She concluded her letter by saying she is disappointed in the students involved and “this is not who we are at Collins Hill High School and does not reflect our values and beliefs.”