A high school cheer program in Southern California is on hiatus after what school district officials called an "offensive" photo surfaced of 13 girls dressed in what looks like gang attire.
The photo shows members of the Redlands East Valley High School cheer squad wearing baggy clothes and flashing gang signs.
"Anything stereotypical in a negative light like that is not funny, especially at somebody else's expense," parent Tracy Gomez said. "Teenage pregnancy, gun violence."
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School officials believe the photo was taken a few weeks ago at a student event. Redlands School District official Brad Mason said the district became aware of the photo Tuesday.
District Superintendent Lori Rhodes released a statement, which said in part that she found "the picture offensive" and that "this type of depiction will not be tolerated."
Ashley Scott, a recent graduate of Redlands East Valley High School, knows several of the cheerleaders in the photo.
"I was a little disappointed in the girls, just because that's not who we are," Scott said. "I don't believe that any of the girls meant to do this on purpose, to send any kind of message to anyone."
Ashley Scott and her mother Nicole Scott believe that any adults involved in the group’s choice of attire should be held responsible.
"I think that the teacher who approved it, the administration, whoever approved it should have thought a little better about that because it just, it puts us in a poor light," Nicole Scott said.
Superintendent Rhodes said in a statement that the circumstances surrounding the event and photo are being reviewed, and that "appropriate action will be taken once (the) review is complete."
The school district said it is working with Redlands East Valley High School and the community to address cultural awareness and sensitivity at the school.
"Team building exercises such as dress-up days are to build spirit and camaraderie in a positive manner. They should never demean, insult or portray negative stereotypes, as done in this photo," Rhodes said in the statement.