A Miami preschool is catching heat after children were photographed in what appeared to be blackface.
According to CNN, the incident took place in the first week of Black History Month at Studio Kids Little River, a daycare owned and operated by Patricia Vitale. On Feb. 3, a teacher shared several pictures on the school’s messaging app along with a caption that read: “Black history month.” One of the photos showed a young kid dressed as a police officer and another as a construction worker with brown paint on their face. Parents who saw the images immediately expressed outrage, and accused the school of putting children in a blackface—a wildly offensive practice in which a non-Black person puts on dark makeup to act out racist stereotypes.
“You’re a certified, established institutions, you should know better,” said Courtney Politis, whose one-year-old daughter attended the daycare. “I mean, ignorance on — about racism in 2023 is no longer ignorant, in my opinion.”
Politis said she reached out to Vitale to express her concern and flat out called the photographs racist. Vitale allegedly asked the mother to further explain her accusations. The mother decided to pull her kids out of the school.
“The bottom line is we can’t trust them with our children all apologies aside,” she continued. “I thought we would have more time before these sorts of things or racism or microaggressions would have to be experienced by our children. So the fact that you can’t, I feel like I can’t protect my children from what’s happening is probably the most disappointing and upsetting of all of this.”
Vitale has since issued an apology to parents in a private message. She insisted the school didn’t intend “to offend anyone” and they were “sorry about any inconvenience.”
Just several days later the preschool director told parents that the day care staff would receive additional training in response to the controversy.
“We wanted to let all the parents know that we met on Friday afternoon with all the teachers and staff,” the second message read. “We went over several ethical and multicultural education points. I will teach the team a class covering all the necessary topics regarding US history and multicultural education … you may rest assured this will never happen again.”