This week is supposed to be Spirit Week at Ridge High School—Monday was slated as tie-dye day and Tuesday is set as "black tie" day for students.
However, on Monday, School Principal Frank Howlett wrote in an email to parents that in place of “Tie dye day” a small group of seniors decided to implement “Mexican Day," arriving at school dressed in Mexican attire, but with an "offensive" twist.
"I believe the motive behind this idea was not free of malice and find it offensive," Howlett said in the email. "This is not the Ridge High School I wish to cultivate."
Each year the student government sponsors “Spirit” week at RHS, he said.
Spirit Week is done in conjunction with Homecoming week, which concludes with a pep rally, senior tailgate, homecoming football game and the homecoming dance, the principal said. "Each day of Spirit Week provides for a different activity to show spirit." For example, on Wednesday, students are supposed to wear their favorite sports team apparel, the website says.
"A few years ago the senior class decided to do their own thing and one of those things was inappropriate to the point where Spirit Week, specifically the Pep Rally, was interrupted," Howlett said in the e-mail. He did not refer specifically to the "Wet Wednesday" activity in which students sprayed water in hallways and especially near the Performing Arts Centers.
However, he compared the seniors' activity this year as "similar."
He said many of the same seniors who created Monday's experience have labeled Tuesday to be “Drugs/Thugs” day where the plan includes dressing up as a certain ethnicity and representing themselves as drug dealers. "Many members of the senior class have reached out to me to report they find tomorrows’ theme to be extremely offensive," he said.
"The staff at RHS does not condone this type of behavior and any student who arrives to school in a manner that I find offensive will be provided with consequences. Some have told me that the goal of this group is to, once again, have a Pep Rally interrupted," Howlett said.
"This will not happen. I will deal with each student on an individual basis and the consequences could include suspensions from school or the removal from popular senior events for the student," Howlett said.
The objective of Spirit Week is to bring the students at RHS together to support our mission to excel in all we do. These offensive activities are completely contrary to Spirit Week’s goal," the principal said.
He asked parents to have a discussion with students regarding this issue and "it's inappropriateness."