CHICAGO (CBS)– Administrators at the Middle School at The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools announced the decision to reprint the school’s yearbook due to photos of students making a hand gesture associated with racism.
The symbol, known as the “circle game,” has recently taken on a more sinister connotation. While teens may use the “ok” symbol as a game, some groups have been using it to advocate for white power.
“We believe, with confidence, that the students’ gestures were part of this innocent game, but as the gesture has become a symbol of hate we will not distribute the yearbook in its current form,” Sandy Bixby, Middle School principal, stated in an email to the school community. “I want to stress that we do not think our students did anything wrong, but we do respect that a gesture can quickly take on new meanings.”
School officials said they will hold an assembly for students on Wednesday morning. In the email to parents, the principal said the assembly will “communicate to students the ‘why’ behind” the decision to reprint the yearbooks.
The Lab Middle School is not alone.
Just last week, administrators at Walter Payton College Prep announced the decision to spend over $22,000 for yearbook reprints after the yearbooks were printed containing six photographs of students displaying the “ok” sign.
On May 23, Highland Park High School halted yearbook distribution after a senior quote was linked to Nazi leaders.
Earlier that week, administrators at Oak Park and River Forest High School decided at a school board meeting to spend nearly $54,000 to reprint the school yearbook, after discovering several photos of students making a hand gesture associated with racism.
School staff found 18 photos of students making the symbol, which is formed by making an “ok” symbol with the fingers and turning the hand into a downward position.