'Isis Phillips': California high school misnames student wearing hijab in yearbook

© Bayan Zehlif
A Muslim high school student based in Rancho Cucamonga, California, was misidentified in her yearbook photo, in which she wore a hijab, as "Isis Phillips." The young woman denounced the yearbook's "typo" explanation.

Bayan Zehlif, a 17-year-old student at Los Osos High School, posted a photo from the yearbook on Facebook, saying that she had been left "hurt and embarrassed" by the incident.

"I am extremely saddened, disgusted, hurt and embarrassed that the Los Osos High School yearbook was able to get away with this," she wrote. "Apparently I am 'Isis' in the yearbook. The school reached out to me and had the audacity to say that this was a typo. I beg to differ, let's be real."

The school's yearbook staff tweeted a public apology for the "mis-tagging" error, saying it is "currently working in coordination with the school and district office to remedy this situation."

Susan Petrocelli, principal of Los Osos High School, also tweeted a public apology, saying the school "is taking every step possible to correct & investigate a regrettable misprint discovered in the yearbook. We sincerely apologize."

The school has halted yearbook distribution, the Los Angeles Times reported, and has asked that the 200-plus students who received a copy to return them. A student who worked on the yearbook told KABC that the school formerly had a student named Isis Phillips, but that student has since transferred, possibly explaining the "misunderstanding."

The 17-year-old student's family is reticent about speaking to media at this point, KCBS reported. The young woman's father told KCBS that the family is outraged about the association with Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL), the fundamentalist Islamic jihadist group centered in Syria and Iraq. He said the family believes this was a racist slur directed at their daughter and is working with the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Los Angeles to address the situation.

“We join with the family in their concern about a possible bias motive for this incident and in the deep concern for their daughter’s safety as a result of being falsely labeled as a member of a terrorist group,” CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said in a statement. “No student should have to face the humiliation of being associated with a group as reprehensible as ISIS.”

CAIR-LA has called for an investigation of the incident and that the privacy of the young woman is respected.

The young woman is unlikely to return to the school "until the issue is resolved appropriately," CAIR-LA said.

Fifty-five percent of Muslim students in California have been the target of at least one instance of bullying associated with their religion, CAIR of California reported last year after a statewide survey. The figure is twice the national average of students who have reported bullying in school, the group says.

Rancho Cucamonga is in San Bernardino County and about 35 miles east from central Los Angeles.