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Message of Racial Hate Found Hidden In High School Yearbook

June 15, 1995

GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) _ A series of random-looking letters tacked onto the end of yearbook photgraph captions spelled out a message of racial hatred beneath the picture of five graduating seniors in this wealthy, mostly white community.

The school superintendent, John Whritner, said Wednesday that the school system was investigating whether the five students at Greenwich High School were involved in getting the words into print.

He also said police had been notified.

Words and letters appearing below the pictures of the five white students, when put together, contained the message ``kill all niggers.″

The message of hate was discovered after a student allegedly involved in getting it into the book bragged to friends, Whritner said.

``From there it spread like wildfire,″ he said. ``You’d have to be a very eagle-eye proofer to pick it up.″

The yearbook was released Monday.

Whritner said school officials hope to have the situation resolved before commencement next Tuesday. He said he did not know what action would be taken.

Seniors get to write their own captions, and it is common for them to include inside jokes, or messages, that only friends will understand, school officials said.

At the end of a caption under one student’s picture appeared the word ``kill.″ Under a second was the word ``ALL.″ The third, fourth and fifth captions end: ``ni,″ ``gg″ ``ERS.″ The pictures are on various pages of the yearbook.

Blacks make up about 3 percent of the student population in Greenwich, a bedroom community of New York that is home to many celebrities and wealthy business executives. About 2,000 students attend the high school.

``Whatever we find we will pursue to the fullest of our ability, within the school system,″ Whritner said. ``We asked the police to become involved because we are concerned about possible civil rights violations.″

Whritner said racism has not been a problem at the school, and that he was upset that the act would tarnish the reputation of the graduating class.

``Of all senior classes this one has done the most towards enhancing relations between the races,″ Whritner said. ``They even had a diversity week this year.″

He said a letter would also go out to all parents, and that the faculty planned to take out a full-page newspaper advertisement condemning the act.

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