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(MIAMI) — A Miami, Florida, preschool is under fire after photos appeared to show children in one class in blackface during Black History Month.
The children can be seen dressed up in costumes based on different professions – including police officers and construction workers. Their faces appeared to be painted black, a photo of the incident shows.
The owner of the Studio Kids’ Little River preschool where it allegedly occurred, Patricia Vitale, declined to comment to ABC News.
However, in messages to parents, shared with ABC News, the owner said “we have not intended to offend anyone, and we are very sorry about any inconvenience.”
The owner added that teachers and staff attended a meeting about “ethical and multicultural education points” in response to the incident.
Courtney Politis, whose child attended the preschool, told ABC News she found out about the alleged blackface incident through a friend whose child was in the class that day on Feb. 3. Then, Politis said, photos of the incident began to circulate in a school-based messaging app.
“I was like, ‘This can’t be real in 2023,'” Politis told ABC News in an interview. “[Blackface] was just made to make fun and dehumanize Black people. It was made to say that we were lazy and incompetent and it’s just, it’s just not right. It’s disrespectful.”
Politis said she has pulled her two children from Studio Kids preschools, which has several locations in the area. Her children were not in the class where the alleged blackface occurred.
Politis claims several other parents have pulled their children from the school as well.
“As an educator, know better and do better for our children and for the future,” Politis said.
The Miami-Dade branch of the civil rights organization NAACP slammed the preschool.
“The use of blackface at anytime is insensitive and offensive. We stand ready to provide resources on authentic #BlackHistoryMonth lessons,” the organization said in a tweet.
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