A school worker in suburban Portland, Oregon has been suspended after showing up on campus in black, the school district said Monday.
The disturbing incident took place last week at a Newberg Public School campus a few miles southwest of Portland, resulting in the “employee being removed” and placed on administrative leave, the Minister said. school district.
Elementary school worker Mabel Rush wore blackface to commemorate civil rights icon Rosa Parks and protest a vaccination warrant for all public school employees in Oregon, Newberg newspaper reported Graphic.
“The administration of the Newberg public schools condemns all expressions of racism,” the statement said. “It’s important to remember how Blackface was used to distort black communities and cause harm. We recognize the violence this represents and the trauma it evokes regardless of intention.”
All Oregon public school employees must be fully immunized by October 18.
“Blackface has no place in our schools, and we are committed to creating spaces that every student belongs to as we move forward together on our mission to educate students,” the district added.
Superintendent Joe Morelock could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday. A spokeswoman for the Oregon School Employees Association, the largest union of public school support staff in the state, said she was not aware of the incident.
Gregg Koskela, communications coordinator for Newberg Public Schools, declined to confirm whether the blackface was worn to protest the vaccination mandate.
“The district has no comment on the motivation of the employee,” Koskela said. “The incident itself is unacceptable on our campuses, and action counts more than any intention.”
The incident occurred the same week it was revealed that students at Newberg High School were participating in a mocking online “slave trade”. The students joked about the price they would pay for owning black classmates.
The school board is also considering banning all political symbols, such as gay pride flags or visible support for Black Lives Matter.