A Muslim student at a high school in Los Angeles had her name listed as “Isis” on her yearbook photo.
Many believe that putting the name “Isis” under a headscarf-wearing Muslim woman’s photo was no mistake, but instead a deliberate action.
Bayan Zehlif, a junior at Los Osos High School, wrote a Facebook post about how she was “extremely saddened, disgusted, hurt and embarrassed” that the yearbook got away with such a nasty “joke.”
Her Facebook post was shared over 2,000 times so far.
In her Facebook post, Zehlif said the school reached out to her and claimed it was a typo.
She posted the photo on Twitter as well, where it started making rounds.
She received an outpouring of support, including a tweet from one Twitter user who crossed out the name “Isis,” and replaced it with Bayan’s own name, urging others to do the same.
The school then felt the need to chime in via Twitter and do some damage control, saying it was a “regrettable misprint” versus a typo.
An account belonging to the principal, Susan Petrocelli, took to Twitter, saying “LOHS is taking every step possible to correct & investigate a regrettable misprint discovered in the yearbook. We sincerely apologize.”
“Stuff like this doesn’t normally happen,” a student at the school said, who wished to remain anonymous. “It’s a pretty good community.”
“I’ve lived here all my life and never had a single problem,” she said. “And I can say the same for my friends.”
Unfortunately, all it takes is one time, one incident.
Petrocelli told The Islamic Monthly that an investigation has been commenced to get to the bottom of the matter, but added that administration can’t get in touch with students until they return to class on Monday. She shifted blame from any of the school’s staff, saying the yearbook is put together by Los Osos students, and the editors are students as well.
Given the state of teenaged affairs these days–all the bullying–you would think that at some point there would have been some type of adult supervision, no?!
An account on Twitter that belongs to the Los Osos yearbook staff seemingly indicates that there is a faculty member in charge.
Meanwhile, at least one of the students who worked on the yearbook was more upset about the backlash the yearbook staff was receiving than about the damage their little “joke” had on their schoolmate.
Petrocelli also disputes Zehlif’s claim that the school told Zehlif it was a “typo,” telling The Islamic Monthly, “I would never say it was a typo or a mistake. As I told Bayan’s family, this matter has to be thoroughly investigated first.”
She insisted that the school was taking the matter seriously: “If there is a student that has responsibly and intentionally committed this, we will take the appropriate action that is necessary.”
She also confirmed that there is a student with the name Isis Phillips that used to attend Los Osos, and is still attending school somewhere in the same district. Surprisingly enough, social media has yet to find Isis Phillips, but if she exists, we bet it won’t be long before they do, since the Twitterverse is better at finding people than the SVU squad and the FBI combined.
Petrocelli also said that only 287 yearbooks have been distributed so far, all to seniors; there are over 3,000 students at Los Osos. The rest of the books, she says, have been locked up, and the school has started working with a publishing company to rectify the “error.”
We reached out to Zehlif for more details, and she told us, “At the moment I’m holding back on talking to people about what happened until I get answers from the school, and have a representative by my side.”
She then asked us to follow up with her on Monday, after she and her mother had a chance to meet with the school.
We’ll keep you posted.
Update: CAIR is now involved, and they say that it’s unlikely the student will return to the school until the issue is resolved. They also allege that it may not be the first Islamophobic incident to happen at Los Osos High School.