A preschool in Miami, Florida, came under fire after parents recently discovered that children were allegedly painted in blackface as part of a Black History Month activity, WPLG reported.
Shocked and outraged, many parents promptly responded by pulling their children out of the school.
One of those parents, Courtney Politis, a mother whose one-year-old daughter used to attend the day care, stated that she had never had a problem with the school before. She noted that even though her daughter was not in the class that participated in the activity, she was “flabbergasted” by the incident and chose to remove her child from the school.
Politis explained that photographs of three children dressed up as a construction worker, a police officer, and a doctor were shared by a teacher on the school’s messaging application on February 3. The three toddlers, as young as two years old, appeared to have dark paint on their faces. The post included the caption “Black history month,” according to a screenshot shared with CNN.
“One of my closest friends contacts me, whose son is in the class, and is, like, ‘You won’t believe what they just did today.'” Politis said.
Politis stated that she immediately contacted the owner and director of the preschool, Patricia Vitale.
“I’m like, this is racist! And she proceeds to respond back with, ‘I’m sorry? I don’t understand?'” Politis said.
“In our school we don’t use this world [sic] neither we have this kind of mind,” Vitale replied to Politis, screenshots from their text exchange revealed.
“You’re a certified, established institutions, you should know better. I mean, ignorance on – about racism in 2023 is no longer ignorant, in my opinion,” Politis told CNN.
Vitale sent a message to parents on February 3 that stated, “We have received a comment from one of our parents regarding the activity that was done in Ms.Flor [sic] class for the black history month. We have not intended to offend anyone, and we are very sorry about any inconvenience. The parents that know us, know that we have never had a bad intention in our institution. This was activity planned for this month. I will appreciate if anybody who is concern [sic] about this can contact me directly.”
Several days later, Vitale provided parents with an update on the matter.
“We wanted to let all the parents know that we met on Friday afternoon with all the teachers and staff. 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,” she said.
Vitale declined to comment on the incident, WPLG and CNN reported.