Freddy Martinez couldn't believe his eyes when he saw what was printed on his 16-year-old daughter's picture in her Tucumcari (New Mexico) High School yearbook.
"I was angry," he said. "I was ready, honestly, to hurt somebody really bad."
It was a photo on the Class Bests page that left Martinez in shock. His daughter won the Best Hair category. And while it is hard to see at first, the words "what a whore" are printed vertically along the left side of the picture.
Martinez says his daughter was very upset.
"She was crying constantly to us and she didn't know what to do about this," Martinez said.
Martinez suspects students who didn't like his daughter were behind the hurtful words, but Assistant Superintendent Dennis Roch couldn't confirm who was responsible.
"That's a student discipline matter and I can't address it," he said.
The girl's parents say the 16-year-old doesn't want to finish high school at Tucumcari High.
"She doesn't even want to come to this town anymore because it's so small, you know. She's going to see the local students all the time and how is she supposed to face them?" Martinez said.
The girl is now living with her mother and going to school in the Albuquerque metro area.
Roch couldn't confirm if any students were punished or if the yearbook advisor was fired. He would only say the staff member no longer works for the district.
Roch says the district took immediate action.
Officials recalled the yearbooks through an announcement on local radio, tore out the offensive page, and replaced it with an insert.
"I believe the district did all it can to set the situation right," Roch said. "To require that students come in and have that page replaced acknowledges that material was offensive and it should have never been there in the first place."
But Martinez says the damage is already done and replacing the pages didn't erase what happened.
"I keep hearing apologies, you know. I'm an adult I can handle this, I can take care of this. Nobody apologized to my daughter," he said.