Note: This story has been updated with a clarification (see end of post).
This year’s Berkeley High student yearbook was recalled Wednesday after an offensive comment about one of the campus's small schools, the Academy of Medicine and Public Service (AMPS), was discovered on one of its pages.
The text published in the yearbook describes AMPS, which has a high concentration of African-American and Hispanic students, as “a small learning community focus [sic] on medicine, making our future doctors, dentists, nurses, physicians, fire chiefs and trash collators [sic].”
In an email to Berkeley High families Wednesday night -- the school's third email of the day on the subject -- Interim Principal Kristin Glenchur wrote: “As you may know, an offensive and racist phrase was discovered on the AMPS page of the BHS yearbook. Our investigation to this point indicates that the original text of the page was maliciously replaced. ” She continued, saying it had been difficult to pinpoint who was responsible, as so many people were involved in the compilation of the yearbook. The entire yearbook staff has assumed collective responsibility for the incident. (Read her full email.)
The community was first alerted to the yearbook page by an email sent out around 2 p.m. Wednesday by BHS Vice Principal Daniel Nube, who said the 2015 yearbook was being recalled. He requested that students turn in their copies to the front desk with their names written in them. He did not say why the recall was necessary or who was responsible for writing the text.
“We are keeping careful track of yearbooks that are being turned back in,” Nube wrote. “After a few days they will get their same yearbook returned to them. No personal information will be looked at.”