A top-rated high school in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C. is disciplining students found to have handed out paper passes giving "permission" to use a racial slur.
Several students at Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland, gave out "N-word passes," Principal Brandice Heckert said Monday in a letter to families. The paper passes were handed out during lunch on Friday and were meant to give the recipient permission to use the slur, Heckert said.
The principal called the distribution of the passes "an act of hatred."
"I am deeply disappointed and appalled that any student in our school would chose to engage in such a racist, hateful act," Heckert said. "This behavior is disgraceful and does not reflect the values expected of Winston Churchill students."
Student Djamil Nsarr said this wasn't the first time the notion of a pass to use a slur has come up at the school.
"This has happened to me in the past, where a random white kid will come up to me like, 'Hey, yo, can I get an N-word pass?'" he said Tuesday.
The students involved with the passes will be punished in line with the student code of conduct, the principal said. She didn't specify how they would be disciplined or how many students were involved.
A parent-teacher-student association meeting regarding the incident will be held Feb. 19.
Churchill High is ranked among the top high schools in the country. It's a National Blue Ribbon School and was rated No. 1 in Maryland by U.S. News & World Report in 2018, and No. 4 in Maryland by Newsweek in 2015.