Texas high school students caused some controversy this week after photos of their spirit week event, "thug day," went viral on social media.
Approximately 30 students who attend the Memorial High School in Houston arrived at school on Tuesday wearing oversized jerseys, chains, fake tattoos and cornrows, according to KHOU11. School officials have released a statement, in which they claim the theme was to wear sports jerseys and that the "inappropriate dress and body/hair decorations" were an "alternative, unapproved response." But students claim that the "thug day" theme has been happening for years.
Students at a Houston high school are being called out for wearing "Thug Day" attire. https://t.co/KQJV23XF2v pic.twitter.com/EVVHstdYTl— Okayplayer (@okayplayer) May 16, 2019
Memorial High School’s “thug” day for rising senior spirit week... yes this ACTUALLY happened TODAY at an actual high school but y’all keep saying “racism isnt a problem anymore”... right alright. pic.twitter.com/f3qHXR0B53— Rach (@Rachellemmma) May 14, 2019
"Memorial High School's 'thug' day for rising senior spirit week... yes this ACTUALLY happened TODAY at an actual high school but y' all keep saying ‘racism isnt a problem anymore’... right alright," Memorial senior Rachel Goodwin tweeted.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Goodwin collected the images from her peers' social media accounts and shared them on Twitter. The senior also shared a photo timestamped from 2015, tweeting, "2015 at memorial high school. Happens year after year I'm telling y' all it needs to stop."
What’s even worse, it was a STUDENT PROCLAIMED “thug day”. The actual theme was just “Jersey” love our school :)))— Aubrie G (@WowAubrie) May 15, 2019
Monica Day, a former student, told KHOU11 that the premise of "thug day" quickly became the real meaning of "jersey day,” and that students circulated the idea with secret flyers. She added that in 2015, the official term was "senior swag day," which also resulted in insensitive outfits based on racist stereotypes.
memorial high school is responsible for their own downfall. concerned students have spoken our against these racist Spirit week themes for YEARS and no one cared, and won't until they're held accountable by the media and by others and have their receipts shown one by one— sam (@https_sams) May 16, 2019
"We also used to have 'Senioritas' which was a Mexican theme day in which many girls would wear Mexican dresses and boys would wear ponchos, sombreros and fake mustaches," Day told the outlet. "During the theme day students would 'act Mexican' and ask other students if they needed their lawns mowed. One female student who I will not name went so far as to dress as a border patrol officer at school."
As a result of the outfits, which social media users have called "disgusting and sad," the remaining dress theme days of spirit week have been canceled at the school.
Jersey day becomes “Thug Day” at local school, administrators cancel remainder of spirit week. #abc13eyewitness pic.twitter.com/PpCB4G6BLL— Tom Abrahams (@TomAbrahams13) May 15, 2019
Administrators sent the following statement to all parents:
"Memorial High School has a longstanding tradition for its rising juniors to have special dress days during the week before finals to celebrate the fact that this student class will soon be seniors. MHS junior class officers worked together with students and administrators to create approved Monday-Friday dress-up themes: Hippie, Jersey, 2000s, USA/America, Hawaiian.
"On Tuesday, some rising juniors wore inappropriate dress and body/hair decorations as part of an alternative, unapproved response to the theme day. As a shared expectation about the theme was clearly violated, MHS has cancelled all remaining dress theme days for the remainder of this week.
"While the majority of rising juniors followed the approved dress theme on Tuesday, any instance of an inappropriate or offensive dress violation will not be tolerated. Students found to be in violation of the Student Code of Conduct and dress code will be given a consequence.
"MHS is focused today on preparing all students for finals and ending the school year well."
A representative for the Spring Branch Independent School District did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle's requests for comment.