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A Phoenix high school is taking disciplinary action against students who posed in T-shirts that spelled the word “ni**er” after the image began to circulate on social media.

Tempe Union High School District spokeswoman Jill Hanks said Friday that the shirts worn by the Desert Vista High School students were part of a larger group effort to spell out “BEST*YOU’VE*EVER*SEEN*CLASS*OF*2016” as part of a yearbook photo. However, some of the students, using the letters “N,” “E,” and “R” and the symbols “*” and “1,” spelled out the word “NI**ER” in a separate photo on their own.

Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio said that he spoke with the Phoenix Police Department and knows that the girls in the picture have received threats over their actions. Police had been called to the school after the image began to circulate on social media, opening new wounds in the community.

“We will be sending a community action officer to the school to monitor the situation and to talk to the girls and their families,” DiCiccio wrote on Facebook. 

“They made a bad mistake as many teenagers do in life. But, any threats against these young women is going to be taken very seriously…People just need to knock off the threats and leave this to school officials and their parents. Period.”

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