A "white-pride criminal gang" in Santa Cruz County may have members at Soquel High, where school administrators suspended a "handful" of students they suspect were involved in racist incidents on campus.
The students stood together wearing white shirts and bandannas at a photo shoot for the senior class picture, according to Santa Cruz City Schools Superintendent Gary Bloom. This is the latest in a string of racially-motivated incidents at Soquel High, where swastikas and other racist graffiti has appeared on desks, walls and in bathrooms, Bloom said.
At least five students from the senior class have been suspended, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported. They will not be allowed to attend prom this weekend or walk in graduation ceremonies.
The parents of at least one of the students, who is Japanese in ancestry says he just happened to be wearing a white t-shirt that day, and was moved near the students with alleged "white power leanings" by the photographer in order to get a better shot.
Another of the suspended students "was clearly a minority," according to students among a crowd of 100 who held a "rowdy" campus rally in support of the suspended group on Thursday.
"Some other kids are saying dumb things and throwing Nazi salutes," said Irving Figueroa, 18. "But (my friend) of all people is not a white supremacist. It hurts me, it offends me, that they would even say that."