Encouraging high schoolers isn’t the easiest job in the world. But, rule of thumb, papering the school with lists of what “Black and Latina Girls Should Know” and including things like “wearing too much makeup looks like a clown” likely won’t go over so well.

Fox31 reports on the controversy at Denver-area Martin Luther King Jr. Early College (which has a predominately minority student body). Posters titled “101 Things Black and Latina Girls Should Know” and “101 Things Every Young Man of Color Should Know” had been hanging around the school since the beginning of the year. Students say administrators probably meant well, but they were not inspired to anything except angry complaints:

“There are some things that should not be said at all,” said another student Christina Arzate.

Those things included statements like: Wearing too much makeup looks like a clown. Twerkin’ and grinding ain’t cute. Experience holding a book (not a kindle or reading on the Internet) this is so important for you to remember how far you have come as Black and Brown people.

“That’s highly offensive, that’s pretty derogatory toward very specific groups of people,” student Victor Corrl said.

Fox31 talked to a child psychologist who said that many of the messages on the posters were upbeat and positive, but, “the percentage of kids getting something from this, who will think twice about their hygiene or appearance, I think is much less than if they thought more carefully regarding the sensitivity on the delivery of it.” No kidding!

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In a statement, the school district said: “We understand the concerns raised by those who found the poster offensive and are reviewing this situation so that we can help prevent issues like this in the future. And, we will continue our work to support responsible and effective conversations about diversity in our schools.”

On the bright side, students now have a great example of the importance of thinking very carefully before you speak, to which they can turn in times of uncertainty.