A preschool teacher in Miami, Florida, allegedly painted blackface on children’s faces for a lesson on Black History Month, which outraged parents.
Three students at Studio Kids’ Little River location were seen wearing what appeared to be brown paint on their faces in photographs obtained by the Miami Herald. In the pictures, one child was dressed up as a construction worker and another was wearing a police uniform. It is unclear what the third child was dressed as.
It is also unclear what exactly the lesson consisted of.
“You should know better as an educator,” parent Courtney Politis, who is black, told the Miami Herald. “What else are you teaching our children?”
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Politis has since removed her children from the preschool.
The images initially sparked outrage after they were shared in a parents’ group chat. Politis then raised her concerns with Studio Kids director Patricia Vitale.
“This is racist,” Politis texted Vitale, according to a screenshot of the conversation.
Vitale responded, “I’m sorry?”
Politis replied, “A lot of moms are very concerned.”
“What is racist?” Vitale asked, confused as to what Politis was referring to.
Vitale then sent out a message to all the parents apologizing for the incident.
“We have not intended to offend anyone, and we are very sorry about any inconvenience,” Vitale wrote in her message, according to screenshots. “The parents that know us, know that we have never had a bad intention in our institution.”
Another parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said she was “shocked and somewhat destabilized” after learning of the photographs. She was concerned that the incident may have involved her child, but eventually discovered that it was another class. She then told her child’s teacher how the lesson was “inappropriate” and that she wanted to speak to the director.
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“How do I trust them to make the decision about what to show my toddler?” she said.
Vitale told the Miami Herald that the issue has been resolved and that “80 percent of the families are okay.” She directed any further questions toward her lawyer.
According to the Studio Kids parents who spoke to the outlet, the school is primarily Latino. Politis said the teacher who taught the lesson using blackface is Latina.