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Mass. preschool fires teacher and shuts down indefinitely over a blackface activity meant to celebrate Black History Month

Image Source: WCVB-TV YouTube video screenshot

A Montessori preschool center in Massachusetts may shut down permanently after a teacher had kids participate in a "Blackface" activity to celebrate Black History Month.

The controversy began when a parent picked up their kids from the IC Kids Montessori center and saw they had spattered black paint on themselves. When asked about it, they said it was for a Black History Month activity.

The parent didn't think anything of it until they saw photographs of the activity that showed children painting paper plates black and putting them up to their faces. The children also were reportedly made to participate in "planking" in rows which some have associated with the method by which slaves were brought to the Americas.

After the school was contacted about the offensive nature of the two activities, they issued a statement on Facebook.

“To all who are offended, we sincerely apologize for what happened with one of our classroom activities: black face,” the school wrote in their first statement on Facebook. “Our intention was to celebrate Black History Month. Unfortunately we didn’t do enough research on black history and carried out a wrong activity. We are sorry about it and we mean it!”

Unfortunately for the school, many people online said that was not a sufficient apology and they deleted the statement and posted a second one.

The second statement said the school was shutting down indefinitely and firing the teacher involved in order to avoid putting the children at risk from possible protests.

“While wording of 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 might have offended,” their statement said in part.

"Considering of protests happening at the center that will put the children at risk, in the need, we are closing the ICKids daycare at this time. Families will be provided with a list of child care centers in the area so that they can immediately receive care for their child/children," the statement concluded.

The center added that they had a diverse staff, but that if they reopened they would try to do so with a more multicultural staff "with strong child care background knowledge and experience."

Here's a news video about the Blackface scandal:

Montessori school in Massachusetts shuts down in wake of blackface class activity www.youtube.com

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