School suspends teachers, reprimands others after video controversy

- A teacher was suspended without pay and several more educators were reprimanded after video of a school play goes viral.

The video was being shared on Facebook showed second-graders at an Atlanta charter school performing a black history play while holding blackface masks.

Weeks after the play parents are still talking about what happened at the school. Leaders sent a message to parents stating even though the performance wasn’t done with ill intent, it did lack professional judgemental.

In this video which is being shared by hundreds on Facebook, second-graders at the Kindezi School at Old Fourth Ward hold up blackface masks while reciting the poem “We Wear the Mask.” The school said it was part of a black history program.

In this letter to parents, leaders at the school wrote in part:

"It was chosen to celebrate the resilience and persistence of the black community in contrast to an image that has been historically associated.

“With its oppression, however, the choice and the way it was executed was not student-centered or respectful to our parents and our community."

In a letter from the school to the Atlanta Public Schools superintendent, officials stated they suspended Rachelle Clay, the second-grade teacher who put on the performance and reprimanded nine other educators, including the principal.

School leaders added that although some teachers raised reservations about the masks, they never made them known to Clay or the administration. The letter goes on to state Clay did not tell parents about the masks before the children took the stage.

Not everyone found the performance offensive, but agree all the plans for the play should've been shared.

School leaders said they have put several steps in place to avoid something like this from happening again. One change is that they have partnered with a group called Overcoming Racism to provide training to staff.

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