EAG: SALEM, Ore. – When Judson Middle School seventh-grader Auzeen Seiffert entered her design for the school yearbook, she saw kids having fun in a lollipop wonderland with blue trees and candy cane lined pathways.
Her classmates also liked her design – which Seiffert described as “two friends playing in a Candyland-like park” – and voted to make it the yearbook cover for 2015-16, The Statesman Journal reports.
The artwork was inspired by the board came and played off the school theme of “Life is Sweet.”
But school officials saw a resemblance of one of Seiffert’s characters to “Little Black Sambo” – a beloved childhood character from the late 19thcentury that turned into a racial flashpoint in the mid 20th century – and ultimately decided to pull Seiffert’s drawing at the last minute, after the yearbooks arrived from the printer, according to KGW.
“There was worry that it might be misinterpreted,” Salem-Keiser School District’s director of middle school education Matt Biondi said. “We try to make sure when we’re conveying something to the community that it be the most respectful to the widest audience.”
Biondi ultimately made the call to can the controversial picture after principal Matt Biondi initially raised concerns because the colors on the yearbooks were deeper than the original picture, and he said staff were concerned it might offend someone. MORE