Controversy Erupts Over Senior T-Shirt - NECN
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Controversy Erupts Over Senior T-Shirt

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    A high school student in Concord, New Hampshire, has been suspended and not allowed to go to prom or walk at graduation for designing a senior T-shirt that some students claim is racist. (Published Wednesday, June 10, 2015)

    A student in Concord, New Hampshire, has been suspended and not allowed to got to prom or walk at graduation for making a senior T-shirt that some students claim is racist.

    For the second time this week, Concord High School seniors got a "Class of 2015" shirt Wednesday. Students say they had to return the first one because some believed it included racist remarks and drug references.

    "I think it was, like, disgusting," said senior Julia Makris.

    She and some others are convinced the three K's found in the word scramble of the design are in reference to the Klu Klux Klan and that the term "Go White" is advocating white supremacy.

    "It's like a hate crime," Makris said.

    Assistant High School Principal Ronna Cadarette wouldn't discuss whether any student is being held accountable.

    "We believed that there were inappropriate innuendos on the shirts that were offensive to students," she told necn in a phone interview late Wednesday. "That is why we made the decision to respect those students and print new shirts."

    Necn caught up with three seniors who are close friends with the graphic arts student who designed the first shirt. They say it's not what it seems.

    "They say its all this bad stuff, but in reality, 'Go White' is our color, and the 'K, K, K' stands for strikeouts," said Anthony Finehout.

    When asked if they'd ever consider their friend racist, they said, "absolutely not."

    "Anyone who actually knows him, knows he's probably one of the nicest people to the core, he's a good person," said senior Alex Kamau.

    Necn talked with the student being held accountable and his mother. They didn't want to go on camera, but they tell necn he's been suspended for 10 days, can't go to prom and won't be allowed to walk at graduation.

    They say the design was well-intentioned and that this is all a big misunderstanding.

    Not everyone agrees.

    "No, no, no, I don't think it was a misunderstanding," Makris said. "I think everyone who thinks that is friends with the kid who did it."

    There is a misspelled word on the shirt, and the student who created the design says it was a mistake.

    In that case, his friends say his punishment doesn't fit the crime.

    "Get over it, let him walk at graduation," Tyler Dow said. "He's worked his butt off for four years."

    "I hope it changes the school's mind because I would like to be able to go to prom and graduation with my friend," Kamau said.

    The student and his mom tell necn they have a meeting with administrators on Friday.

    Cadarette would not confirm or deny whether they are punishing any students or whether or not they will reconsider.