The students at Kindezi School at Old Fourth Ward were reciting the poem "We Wear The Mask" by Paul Laurence Dunbar as they held up black, cut out paper masks. Parents in the audience posted pictures and videos of the program and of course, it stirred up plenty of conversation about the use of the masks. Considering the cultural context of blackface, it's a bad move whether intentional or not. The school says it is currently conducting a full investigation into the incident.
The Kindezi School also posted a message on its official Facebook page. "This was a poor and inappropriate decision and we sincerely apologize and accept responsibility for the hurt, anger, frustration, and disappointment that this has caused in the Kindezi community and the community at large."
In light of the incident, the school plans to provide teachers with cultural competency training as a part of its commitment to ensure an incident of this nature "never happens again." The training is meant to make sure staff have "a thorough understanding of our shared history regarding race and racism in America, and how to engage in productive conversations with our students and the community."
The school says it will speak to its students about the historical context of blackface, and also have a parent forum.