A California school district has ordered mandatory teacher training after a Black student dressed in an orange jumpsuit as part of a “Cops and Robbers” themed homecoming float.
Some community members in Fair Oaks, located in Sacramento County, California, expressed concern in September after a photo circulated online of a Bella Vista High School homecoming float that staff members awarded the top prize.
The photo in question shows a Black student wearing an orange jumpsuit behind fake prison bars on the float as several White students sat nearby in police uniforms.
Behind the float, at least one Black student and two White students came dressed in classic black and white prisoner outfits.
“I felt a little bit stunned because you’re seeing a Black male in an orange suit, also handcuffed,” Black Student Union member Dominique Edwards told Capital Public Radio.
The group’s president, Jayha Buhs-Jackson, said regardless of who participated in the float, the design could bring up many issues with the criminal justice system and mass incarceration.
“My dad is a Black man and very dark-skinned. Every interaction he’s faced with people in the system has not been positive,” Buhs-Jackson added to CPR.
Criticism of the display led the school to cancel a subsequent “Cops and Robbers” dress-up day and replace it with an “Adam Sandler Day.”
The controversy around the float also led the school to release an apology and conduct a formal investigation one month later.
According to CBS News Sacramento, a spokesperson for the San Juan Unified School District said the investigation into the incident found that school staff had approved the float despite the theme change because students had completed and “already put several weeks of work” into the float design.
The district admitted this was the wrong decision by teachers and plans to “expand efforts” with their Black Student Union and several other community partners to “build opportunities and support” for Black students.
School staff members will now be required to attend training to ensure similar situations do not arise in the future.
“In answering our questions, a district spokesperson said staff at this predominantly White school will get more professional learning on the subject,” CBS News Sacramento added. “Moving forward, we’re told all high schools in the district have to consider inclusion and equity before deciding themes in future events.”
Bella Vista High School did not return Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
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