An assistant principal has apologized after he apparently called female students “skanky hoes,” explaining that the remark “came from a place of concern.”
Mike White, the assistant principal at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, Calif., issued an apology in a recent issue of the student magazine El Estoque, writing, “I am sincerely sorry for the language that I used when speaking of students during their preparation for their performance during Homecoming Week. While what I said may have come from a place of concern, I should have expressed that concern very differently. Upon realizing my error in judgment, I apologized directly to the students involved, my leadership class and the Monta Vista staff. I hold myself to the same standard that I hold each student and adult in our community. And so, when I have made a mistake, I take responsibility and work towards repairing the relationships affected.”
White’s statement surfaced on Facebook several days after the school’s Homecoming Week, during which girls in the senior class performed a dance wearing black shorts, white tank tops, and white baseball jerseys.
“I’m disgusted to hear that the Assistant Principal and leadership head of MVHS called the senior girl’s dance group ‘skanky hoes’ for their attire: black athletic shorts, tank tops, and an oversized baseball jersey,” senior Keara Jacques wrote on Facebook, according to a screenshot shared by El Estoque. “Why are the [water polo] boys allowed to partake in a speedo run to the song ‘Sexy and I Know It’, but the girls are verbally abused for significantly less provocative outfits? This is reprehensible, teenage girls are not sexual objects and deserve a school environment where they are treated with respect and encouraged to show school spirit.”
Jacques’s post went viral in the community, and one student to whom the magazine assigned the pseudonym Beth shared details surrounding the comment: “[Jacques] published a version, like something that she thought happened, but that wasn’t the full truth,” adding that White said “skanky hoes” while instructing staff to ensure the girls’ jerseys were left open and their tank tops visible so people wouldn’t “view them in an inappropriate manner.”
MVHS principal Ben Clausnitzer told the magazine, “I suppose the reality is that context is not an excuse. What occurred from an administrator on campus was not okay — it was inappropriate. While [he was] trying to protect kids, he did it in a poor way.”
Clausnitzer also told the San Jose newspaper the Mercury News in an email, “I am proud that Mr. White immediately recognized that he had made a mistake and handled the situation poorly. He chose to take responsibility and confront this mistake head-on by apologizing directly to the students involved, his leadership students and our entire staff.”
Clausnitzer did not respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.
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White has apologized repeatedly to the staff and the girls on the dance team, but there are mixed feelings about the alleged discriminatory school atmosphere. El Estoque spoke to one former student given the pseudonym Lily, who said, “I wasn’t surprised at all, like at all, at all … After having been in that class for three years, I was really like, [Jacques]’s right. This was definitely [something] I had never considered was wrong. I was just so used to him.”
Another former student, named Samantha Millar, told the Mercury News that during a freshman school dance, she recalled receiving a “snarky” comment from a school official regarding her crop top and high-waisted shorts.
And a student on the dance team, who was given the name Kerry, told El Estoque the controversial statement reflects the school’s M.O. “We [girls] are so used to being policed about our outfits and what dance moves we do,” she said. “There’s always such a double standard.”
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