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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Brown County H.S. investigating racist comment printed in school's yearbook

A student was identified as "Black Guy" in the 2020 yearbook, instead of being listed by his name.

NASHVILLE, Ind. — School officials in Brown County are investigating a racist comment that was printed in a high school yearbook.

Superintendent Dr. Laura Hammack and Brown County High School Principal Matthew Stark issued a statement Monday addressing the comment. The release said the Brown County High School student was listed as "Black Guy" in the 2020 school yearbook, instead of by his name.

Hammack said in a Facebook Live video Monday evening that the issue was brought to her attention by a parent. She said the remark was "devastating" to her and that an investigation is ongoing into how it was published in the yearbook.

"This is not an inconsequential error," Hammack and Stark wrote in the release. "Thus, we are committed to ongoing investigation of the situation and will determine consequences for this action when the investigation is completed." 

Hammack said administrators had spent time with the student's family "to ensure the family understands that we are here to support them and to fix this awful situation."

RELATED: Superintendent addresses comment on Facebook

"This is a clear violation of our non-discrimination policy that we have in the district," Hammack continued. 

The superintendent said while that investigation is still ongoing, there will be consequences.

“I’ve already heard from a couple of class of 2020 graduates who are just sickened by this and couldn’t agree more. I want the community to understand this evening that this is fundamentally a situation that we are taking as the only priority for our time right now,” she said.

Asked in the comments of the Facebook video if the school district was investigating the case as a potential hate crime, Hammack said, "at this point, we are still very deep in better understanding what happened...whatever that investigation uncovers, we will take it from there."

The superintendent said the district is working with their vendor and the student's family to rectify the problem, including looking into potentially reprinting the yearbook and having students return their 2020 yearbooks. Hammack said the school system would pay for the cost of redistributing a revised book.