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Yearbook controversy lingers

Administrators at the Covina school will meet with students about altered names.

July 04, 2008|Joanna Lin | Times Staff Writer

Nearly a month after Charter Oak High School began investigating how fake names for members of the Black Student Union and other students were published in the yearbook, school officials are still looking for a way to resolve the controversy.

Administrators at the Covina school will meet with BSU members and their families Monday to determine the best solution, said Principal Kathleen Wiard. The meeting comes after widespread community outrage over the incident, in which fake names such as "Tay Tay Shaniqua," "Crisphy Nanos" and "Laquan White" were attributed to BSU members in a yearbook photo.

Wiard said the school has found "different levels of accountability" at both the "student and adult level." She declined to say what disciplinary measures the school would pursue.

Although stickers with the correct names had been made available to cover the false names, Wiard said she now wants to consult BSU members on what other corrective measures to take "out of respect to them."

Wiard said the school could order reprints of the entire page because many names, not just those of BSU students, were incorrect. "But before the final decision is made, I want to hear what kids and parents have to say," she said.

She added there have only been a few requests for the corrective stickers, meaning the vast majority of the school's 2,000 students still have yearbooks with the fake names.

Jordan Smith, a BSU member who graduated last month, isn't surprised.

"Not everybody's going to go get their sticker," she said.

Smith, 18, said she wants students, now on summer vacation, to bring their yearbooks back to the school for a replacement page.

She said even though the fake names for BSU members were intentional, "there are a lot of mistakes in the yearbooks already" that warrant the replacement.

Regardless of Monday's resolution, Smith said the school administration's response has been inexcusably slow.

"They could have done it quicker," she said. "We shouldn't even have to go through all this."

Additionally, Smith says the school community deserves a formal, written apology -- not just a phone call. Wiard said she plans to issue a statement following Monday's meeting with a final resolution on the yearbooks.

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joanna.lin@latimes.com

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