Ventura HS recalls yearbook with inappropriate 'most likely to' labels

VENTURA, Calif. (KABC) -- Ventura High School is recalling this year's yearbooks because of inappropriate "most likely to" labels that were applied to some students' photos.

The school had covered the questionable student superlatives with stickers before distributing the books but students found they were able to remove them and see the captions underneath, which some considered hurtful.

The hidden labels read "Most like to get COVID twice" and "Most likely to be cancelled."

Senior Morgan Jensen was surprised to see stickers calling her "Most likely to be a TV star" and "Most likely to be a dancer." Particularly because she's never danced in her life.

The 17-year-old was not happy to discover what was underneath the stickers.

"It's a really big deal right now. COVID is obviously a real thing and people have lost family members so don't think that's something that should be in a yearbook," Jensen said. "And the cancelled one was, I've already been bullied for this type of thing, 'Oh you're going to get cancelled' so it wasn't really funny."

Ace Ly, a former student at the school, also had the fake labels on his photos.

"COVID happened. Asian hate happened. Now I'm getting this," Ly said. "I'm just over everything, how it hurts my head. When I saw, I was surprised and disappointed."

Ly and Jensen were two of the eight students pictured on the page with the inappropriate student superlatives.

Morgan's mom, Stephanie Tindall, says: "What if she was struggling with insecurities? What if she wasn't as strong as she is. This is why I'm so outraged. This could have been the thing that caused somebody to end their life. Suicide being so high right now among students. That's what's scary and disheartening. I'm not worried about Morgan, but what about the other students?"

Ventura High School officials say once they were made aware students could remove the stickers, they halted distribution of the yearbooks and will reissue new ones to all students. They are asking those students who already have their yearbooks to return them.

Principals, yearbook/journalism staff and advisors will also go through training.

In a statement, the school's principal, Carlos V. Cohen, said: "On behalf of the entire school, our yearbook staff, and our district, I am very sorry this has occurred. I especially want to apologize to the students and their families that were affected. You are all special, unique, and should be seen in the best possible light."

"It leaves a little bit of a bitter taste in your mouth. It should be the, you made it. Congratulations. Bittersweet," said Tindall.

The Ventura Unified School District tells Eyewitness News that in regards to discipline for those responsible, once a thorough investigation is complete, all appropriate actions will be taken.

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