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School Apologises Over Blackface Masks During Black History Month

School Apologises Over Blackface Masks During Black History Month

IC Kids school has apologised and fired a teacher following the incident

The IC Kids school in Newton, Massachusetts, has been forced to apologise and fire the teacher who instructed a class to make and wear blackface masks.

The incident reportedly occurred on Tuesday, 8 February, when young children were told to make and wear blackface masks as part of a Black History Month project.

Parents complained when they were made aware of the project, and IC Kids has since taken to Facebook to apologise for the incident and issued a further statement.

IC Kids statement (NBC New York)
IC Kids statement (NBC New York)

The statement, which was taped to the school's window, said, 'To celebrate 'black history month', a teacher in toddler classroom at ICKids planned and carried out an activity that involved black masks 'blackface'. One of the parents brought it to our attention and was offended; The teacher apologized to the parent.'

The school then stated that 'the activity was removed from the classroom and the teacher reprimanded for such actions'.

It went on to say that the teacher responsible was 'released from her employment'.

Referencing an earlier apology the school had made on Facebook that drew criticism, the statement added, 'While [the] wording of [the] Facebook apology was not the best statement, we were trying to send a message to say that research for toddler curriculum was not executed or completed in the manner that It should have been, so we apologize to every and anyone this may have offended [sic].'

IC Kids (NBC New York)
IC Kids (NBC New York)

While the school's Facebook account has since been deactivated, parents were quick to criticise the school's response.

One mother, Nadirah Pierce, who took her child out of the school, said, 'The apology received was empty and then to go onto Facebook and see that apology was disheartening. I hope this is a lesson to possibly really prepare to do projects on cultures before doing them to avoid a hurtful gesture to a group of people.

'Even if they weren't trying to offend, they have' noting that the task was 'unacceptable' and that she didn't 'really understand the concept of this project.'

Porfessor Johnnie Hamilton-Mason, who teaches at the nearby Simmons University on the dynamics of racism, said, 'Having children participate in an activity in which they draw Black faces is shameful.'

She added that the task the teacher set toddlers reinforced harmful stereotypes, adding, 'It makes fun of them — they’re not really human, they’re human, but they’re less than human.'

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website 

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: US News, Education