The incident took place last Tuesday at IC Kids, a Montessori school in Newton, MA. The school took to Facebook this week to announce that the teacher had been fired, and that the facility will be temporarily closed after “hearing of protests happening at the center will put the children and staff at risk.”
“To celebrate ‘Black History Month,’ a teacher in Toddler’s classroom at ICKids planned and carried out an activity that involved black mask/blackface,” the school wrote in a since-deleted Facebook post. “One of the parents pointed out that the black mask/blackface is offensive. The teacher apologized to the parent.”
IC Kids later issued an apology, writing, “To all who are offended, we sincerely apologize for what happened with one of our classroom activities: black face. 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!”
One mother who pulled her child from the school told NBC Boston that “the apology received was empty.”
“This is unacceptable and I don’t really understand the concept of this project,” Nadirah Pierce 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.”
It is not yet clear if and when the school will reopen.