KEY POINTS

  • The racist phrase was in the caption underneath a photo of the school’s basketball team
  • Laura Hammack said the incident is a clear violation of the school district's nondiscrimination policy
  • It has launched an investigation and is considering reprinting the yearbooks at the district's expense

The superintendent of an Indiana school district apologized after a local high school under its jurisdiction referred to a student simply as "Black Guy" instead of using his name in the yearbook.

Laura Hammack, superintendent of Brown County Schools in Nashville, addressed the situation in a Facebook Live video where she called the printing of the phrase "truly incomprehensible" and a "clear violation of our nondiscrimination policy." 

Hammack said an investigation was launched as soon as the racist phrase in the Brown County High School's yearbook page was brought to its attention. She said the probe is still ongoing. 

Images shared on social media showed the photo of a basketball team with the caption "Back Guy" underneath it, ABC-affiliated television station WRTV reported.

According to Indiana schools' data, more than 90% of students in the Brown County High School are white as of the 2019-20 school year.

Hammack said the description left the other students "sickened," adding that she "couldn't agree more" with them. The school district is considering reprinting the yearbooks, with the district taking care of the added expenses.

"This has been a hard day, but what is most important is that this has been a really hard day for a student and for a family, and we will work hard to make sure that a student and a family who are experiencing what they're experiencing today don't need to experience the same feelings moving forward," Hammack said in the video.

"I just commit to our school community that we will be relentless in making this right and making this a moment that we can certainly look back on and one day say we're doing better."

The high school's principal, Matthew Stark, also issued a letter of apology on Monday. "We acknowledge that yearbook is the only class at this school where all assignments and homework are published for all to see," the letter read, according to WRTV. "We strive for perfection and hope any errors are minor and inconsequential. This is not an inconsequential error."

The letter stated that the district is "working collaboratively with the student's family to find ways to rectify the situation."

Stark added that district officials were ramping up their efforts to "advance equity and inclusion for all protected classes," while also working to ensure a "welcoming, safe, inclusive, and equitable" educational ambiance for students.

school classroom Stock photo of an empty classroom. Photo: Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images