Preschool closes, apologizes after blackface activity

February 15, 2022 GMT

NEWTON, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts Montessori preschool has shut down and apologized after a classroom full of toddlers painted black faces on paper plates and held them up to their own faces as a celebration of Black History Month.

ICKids in Newton in a statement posted on Facebook and on the school’s front door Sunday said the “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.”

The school said its director was away at the time and took immediate action when a parent brought it to her attention.

The message said the teacher who planned and executed the Feb. 8 activity was first reprimanded and then fired.

A voicemail was left at the school on Tuesday.

“This is unacceptable and don’t really understand the concept of this project,” Nadirah Pierce, the mother of a child at the school told NBC10 Boston. “The apology received was empty and then to go onto Facebook and see that apology was disheartening.”

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Management said that because the news of the incident had circulated on social media, and because possible protests at the school could put “children at risk,” it was closing for the time being.

If the school does reopen it pledged to hold diversity training and hire a more diverse staff.