TODAY: Civil rights protest at Desert Vista

Posted at 6:38 AM, Jan 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-25 12:00:33-05

A civil rights protest is planned outside a Phoenix high school Monday afternoon after six students were involved in a social media post depicting a racial slur.

Valley civil rights leaders will meet at Desert Vista High School in Ahwatukee at 3 p.m.

The six seniors were supposed to help spell out "Best you've ever seen class of 2016" with letters printed on shirts. The six students mixed up their letters to spell out the slur.

Parents began contacting ABC15 on Friday about a photo that was apparently taken by a group of students at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix and then posted on social media.

In the photo, six girls are seen grouped together smiling while "N-I-*-*-E-R" is spelled out in individual gold letters across their black shirts.

A separate picture from a Desert Vista parent on Instagram showed the girls' lettered shirts as part of a larger message spelling out "BEST*YOU'VE*EVER*SEEN*CLASS*OF*2016".

Jill Hanks, executive director of community relations for Tempe Union High School District, said in an emailed statement, "We are absolutely aware and outraged by this behavior. The students will be disciplined in accordance with district policy and while we don't discuss specific discipline I can tell you that will be addressing the obvious need for sensitivity training in this case."

More than 36,000 people have signed a petition demanding the girls be expelled from school.

Stay with and ABC15 Mobile for updates.

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