SEMINOLE, Fla. — The Pinellas County School District calls the alien costumes that two Seminole High Students wore last Thursday for "Extra-Terrestrial Day" offensive and culturally insensitive.
- Photos of students quickly spread on social media
- Sombreros, mustaches seized from students, who finished school day
- Behavior called "not reflective of the Seminole High community"
- More Pinellas County headlines
"Unfortunately, two students exercised poor judgement and wore an outfit that was offensive," Pinellas Schools spokeswoman Lisa Wolf-Chason wrote in a statement. "Cultural insensitivity is not tolerated at Seminole High School."
Photos of the students wearing sombreros, one of them with an oversized mustache, along with white t-shirts and jeans, quickly began spreading on social media. The caption on the photo reads: "Was it wrong of us to dress as mexicans (sic) for extraterrestrial day/alien day? Yes, are you dumb? No, that's funny."
The Seminole High administration did not find the costumes funny. Administrators confiscated the sombreros and the mustache, when they were made aware of the incident. But the students were allowed to finish the school day, according to Wolf-Chason.
Spectrum Bay News 9 has chosen not to name the two students.
"The choices of these students were disappointing and are not reflective of the Seminole High community," said Wolf-Chason. "Pinellas County Schools will follow the Student Code of Conduct to address this issue."
Wolf-Chason said the school district is not allowed to talk about specific student discipline.
Domingo Garcia, the National President of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said he hopes the students get sensitivity training. The LULAC President also said that kind of stereotyping creates a hostile environment for Hispanic students.
"We need to make sure that they understand that it's not just a joke. Bullying and especially bigotry bullying is not a joke," Garcia said. "It's better just to say, 'You know what? We're going to respect our differences.'"
The phrase "illegal alien" is also outdated and should not be used anymore, according to Garcia.
"We're talking about immigrants, refugees, who are coming across the border, women and children," he said. "To try to put them in that category of 'aliens', somebody different, somebody not like us. Again, plays to that division and that bigotry that we've seen too much in this country."
Current and former students at Seminole High quickly took to social media to call out the students who wore the offensive costumes.
"They knew damn well it was potentially offensive to do what they did," said graduate Denni Romulo. "This is racist and demeaning and I won't shut up about it."
"I'm not allowed to wear holes in my jeans or leggings to school, but kids are allowed to dress completely racist?" said student Madeline Harnisher. "It just amazes me how messed up our school is."
"This is not OK," said graduate Brandi-Shea Figueiredo. "I'm ashamed to say that I graduated there."
Garcia said overall the millennial generation has been more open to inclusion.
"There's more people that believe … that we need to get together, we need to work and respect each other's differences," he said. "There's more things that keep us united than divide us."
Extra-Terrestrial Day was part of Seminole High's prom week, where different festivities were designated each day.