SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Racial controversy was sparked at St. Francis Catholic High School in Sacramento after a student was accused of using blackface to bully another student.
“You know where you stand right when you walk through that gate at St. Francis Catholic High School,” said Reiana Mayorga, a St. Francis alumna.READ MORE: Sacramento Police Officer Alexa Palubicki Accused Of Filing False Police Reports
Mayorga graduated from the school in 2009, but she said she’s not surprised to see a photo of the incident circulating at her alma matter.
The picture shows a white student using a social media filter to don blackface while claiming she’s impersonating one of her black classmates.
“I was appalled,” Mayorga said.
Mayorga said incidents like this date back to when she was a student. She said she was tormented by other classmates, because of the color of her skin.
“If you look a certain way, you’re not going to be part of a certain group,” she said.
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Last June, a group of former students and parents took to social media to express racial mistreatment at St. Francis. Assistant Principal Dr. Jason Javiar Watson responded in a video online.
“These heartbreaking stories caused us to take a deep and reflective look,” Watson said.
The school then launched a racial reconciliation program, which trains staff in racial bias and aims to build diversity into the curriculum.
But months later, this new incident occurred.
The school released a statement which reads, in part:
“The recent events taken by a SFHS student were completely unacceptable and we are disheartened by the student’s behavior. The student’s actions were addressed immediately and the disciplinary measures were in accordance with the SFHS Racial Reconciliation Plan and SFHS Student Policy. While there is still more work to do, SFHS will continue to honor the commitment we made to create change within our community and support healing within our students and families of color–specifically our Black and African American students.”
We’re told the student was disciplined, but school leaders said more work is to be done. And community leaders agree, saying it is clear the program is not making a big enough change.MORE NEWS: Woman Walking On I-80 Fatally Struck By 3 Cars, North Sacramento CHP Says
“You go to school and you’re supposed to feel protected,” said Leia Schenk. “There’s a pattern of systemic racism within this school, specifically, that they just haven’t addressed.”