REDLANDS (  —  The varsity cheerleading squad at Redlands East Valley High said they were just trying to impart a little school spirit on Spirit Day.

What followed is a spirited debate on what is and what isn’t appropriate and whether the photo stereotyped certain groups.

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More than a dozen young women posed for photo in what some called a gangster pose. Many of them wore bandanas, flannels, Chuck Taylors and sported hand signs. Two of the young women stuffed their shirts to look pregnant, one girl has what looks like a knife in her sock. One girl is holding a fake gun to the head of another.

KCAL9’s Crystal Cruz was told by students the team was given permission by their coaches to dress up for Spirit Day.

Some were not amused.

Lori Rhodes, Redlands School District Superintendent, sent out a statement on Tuesday that read in part, “I find this picture offensive, and this type of depiction will not be tolerated. I apologize that any Redland USD student organization would be involved in any activity of this type.”

She said “appropriate action” would be taken once a review was completed.

Cruz went to the home of the school’s principal to ask some more questions.

“What can I do for you?,” he asked.

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Cruz told the principal she was a reporter from KCAL9 doing a story about the controversial photo.

“Send your info to Brad Mason at the district if he wants to contact you and update you he will do that, okay?”

The principal, John Maloney, had nothing else to say on the matter.

“I would appreciate if you leave my house, thanks,” Maloney said.

Cruz also spoke to two 16-year-old students who wanted to defend their friends.

“That definitely wasn’t their intention you know they’re not trying to offend anybody. It’s just ridiculous it’s getting this blown out of proportion,” said Paige. “They were just doing what the Spirit Day told them to do.”

“It was for spirit and nothing’s too serious about it,” said Darleene.

According to the Redlands Daily Facts, school officials are investigating the matter and have temporarily deactivated the cheerleading squad.

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It’s still unclear if any students or coaches will be disciplined for the photos or when the district’s investigation will be complete.