Education · Fresno

Report: Fresno Unified expels student who took racist photograph

Fallout continues from the Bullard High School incident involving a student who was photographed wearing a KKK-style hood in the school’s weight room in early May. 

ABC30 reported that the student who took the picture has been expelled from the school. 

An attorney for the student who was photographed said that student was set up for the picture and falsely portrayed as a racist. The student reached a settlement with the school district that will not result in his expulsion. 

Fresno Unified School District could not confirm that the student who took the picture was expelled when asked by The Sun. 

“All students involved have been investigated and disciplinary action has been taken,” the district said in a press release. “We are unable to share any details of those disciplinary actions due to student privacy.” 

However, the involved students “will undergo a reentry process that includes cultural sensitivity learning,” the district said. 

While the fate of the involved students has not been made public, the district is using the incident as a springboard to implement several changes that it says are intended to support an inclusive and culturally proficient culture. 

The district’s multi-leveled response to the incident, as announced in a press release Tuesday evening, is as follows: 

  1. An in-depth independent investigation into the staff members who were supervising the students. The district said disciplinary actions are being taken, and, when appropriate, cultural sensitivity training is being assigned. 
  2. A formal address from Principal Armen Torigian to all students regarding the “culturally destructive nature of racism.” 
  3. The district is committed to implementing a graduation requirement of ethnic studies ahead of the state timeline. 
  4. The district has ongoing collaborations with higher education partners specifically to recruit Black, Indigenous and people of color teaching candidates. 
  5. The district has revised board policy to add a Race and Social Action Student Advisory Board Member at every high school. One member will be elected to serve as a third student board member with the Board of Education. The district is also committed to relaunching the Student Voice Collaborative, which meets with the superintendent and deputy superintendent on a quarterly basis. 

In addition to those actions, the district also said it is reviewing and updating its Parent Student Handbook to include language on the district’s response to racism.

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.