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Youths Simulate a Klan Lynching at School Costume Party

October 31, 1993|From Associated Press

OAKHURST, Calif. — Two teen-agers wore Ku Klux Klan costumes and pretended to lynch another boy wearing blackface at a high school Halloween party. All three should have been turned away, their principal said.

"All of a sudden it happened, and we had to make a quick decision," Yosemite High School Principal Bob LaBelle said. "If I had to make (the choice) again, they wouldn't get in. We screwed up."

LaBelle sent a notice to students on Friday, saying he regretted letting the three join a party at the school about 150 miles southeast of San Francisco in the Sierra foothills.

The students were made to take off their hoods and noose at the door on Wednesday. But they were allowed to put the props back on for a group photo, and won prizes for their costumes.

"They walked in and lot of people were like, 'That's not nice.' But a lot of people said, 'That's cool,' like original," said Jessica Hayner, 17.

LaBelle said the lynching theme crossed the line of bad taste, and that the school had to prevent incidents of racial intolerance and advocacy of violence.

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