Bay Area student wears KKK costume to high school 'on a dare,' setting off outrage

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Friday, October 29, 2021
Outrage after student wears KKK costume to East Bay high school
A decision by a student to wear a KKK costume to Pittsburg High School has outraged many parents and students.

PITTSBURG, Calif. -- A student wore a KKK costume to a Bay Area high school - apparently on a dare - and made it through four periods of school before officials took action, setting off outrage among parents and students.

Pittsburg High School in Contra Costa County was having a costume contest on Wednesday. One student was photographed wearing a white sheet and a pointed white hat, emblematic of the uniform of the Ku Klux Klan.

The student wore the costume on-and-off through four periods before he was stopped and the clothing items were confiscated. The school principal noted it may have taken that long before administrators noticed and took action because he did not wear it during class.

The student has been disciplined and will face the school's "restorative justice" process, according to Principal Todd Whitmire.

RELATED: Students show up at school dressed as KKK members

A photo circulated of what appeared to be two students walking into school wearing white robes, pointed hats and crosses.

Still, parents and students remain upset at the incident.

"I was surprised, like how the principal or none of the security agents didn't stop him or anything like that," said Manuel Gutierrez who goes to Pittsburg High.

Whitmire says the student in the KKK costume admitted to wearing it on a "dare."

"Even if it was a 'dare,' that's still disrespectful to, you know our kind," said student Robert Williams.

According to the principal's note, the student wore the costume through four periods without being told to take it off. It's believed he only wore the costume during certain times and not during class.

"Why would you let somebody come to school and walk around all day like that?" said Serenity Johnson who has siblings attending the school.

The note to parents says the student has been "assigned consequences." He will participate in the school's restorative justice process to learn how his actions have impacted and harmed others. In that process he will help repair harm he has caused.

Some believe stronger disciplinary measures should be taken here.

"He should be expelled!" says Williams.

ABC7's sister station, KGO in San Francisco, reached out to the superintendent and the principal for further comment but has not yet heard back.

Whitmire's notice to the school community read in part: "As a school community, we are very disappointed and concerned with the actions of this student. We are committed to addressing what has occurred and working with this student to help him recognize the harm his actions have caused and, just as importantly, the responsibility he has, along with our school, to help repair the harm."