Yearbooks should provide a lifetime of memories for students. After forging out into the world, some refuge can be found in the innocence of yesteryear where most students’ biggest concerns include schoolwork, friends, and extracurricular activities. For Bayan Zehlif (shown center in the above photo), her impressions will forever be marred by cracking the Los Osos High School yearbook’s spine and discovering her photo captioned as “Isis Phillips.” Her principal, Susan Petrocelli, calls this a “regrettable mistake.” Petrocelli says the school will do everything possible to correct the error, which has already been printed and distributed to hundreds of students, who have been asked to return their copies.
Upon Zehlif’s Friday discovery of the error, she tweeted photo evidence.
She also published a Facebook entry that revealed the depths of her discomfort and disgust toward her school’s error because — obviously — no one wants to be lumped in with a terrorist organization:
“I am extremely saddened, disgusted, hurt and embarrassed that the Los Osos High School yearbook was able to get away with this. Apparently I am ‘Isis’ in the yearbook. The school reached out to me and had the audacity to say that this was a typo. I beg to differ, let’s be real.”
Without any additional information, the excuse of “a typo” sounds flimsy at best. However, CBS Los Angeles reports that a former student at the school was indeed named Isis Phillips. So this may have been a sloppy mistake, but the school has taken drastic steps to fix the error by recalling all yearbooks. In addition, Superintendent Mat Holton assures the LA Times that the district is investigating the issue:
“If they find that a student acted irresponsibly and intentionally, administration will take appropriate actions. The school will assure students, staff and the community that this regrettable incident in no way represents the values, or beliefs, of Los Osos High School.”
Holton emphasizes that new yearbooks shall be printed to solve this error, which he hopes will fix the issue. However, the Council on Council on American-Islamic Relations has requested an investigation into the yearbook caption, which CAIR fears may be racially motivated:
“We join with the family in their concern about a possible bias motive for this incident and in the deep concern for their daughter’s safety as a result of being falsely labeled as a member of a terrorist group. No student should have to face the humiliation of being associated with a group as reprehensible as ISIS.”
Indeed, one of the saddest aspects of this whole story is that Isis was once regarded as a beautiful name, yet it now conjures up the Islamic State’s reputation for terror and violence.