Staff members at Studio Kids’ Little River Preschool in Miami, Florida are facing backlash after faculty thought it would be a good idea to celebrate Black History Month by placing toddlers in Blackface.
In an article published Sunday (Feb. 12), Courtney Politis told Local 12 that the incident happened earlier this month. While the Black parent had several children attending the preschool, none were present the day the Blackface controversy began. Politis told the news outlet she was informed about the disturbing occurrence after another parent sent her pictures of students with their faces painted. The little ones were wearing costumes that represented different professions such as police officers or construction workers, but the kids’ faces were purposely several shades darker.
“She told me that they painted everyone’s face in Blackface and said, ‘Happy Black History Month.’ I was like, ‘There’s no way this is real. This can’t be real,'” the surprised mother said. Politis added, “Then, of course, the anger and disbelief, and the heartbreak that comes from all of this. I immediately texted the owner (Patricia Vitale). I’m like, ‘This is racist,’ and her first response is, ‘I’m sorry?'” Staff at the daycare then sent out a letter that read, in part, “We have not intended to offend anyone, and we are sorry about any inconvenience. The parents that know us, know that we have never had a bad intention in our institution.”
Vitale allegedly held a meeting to discuss topics such as ethics and diversity with her staff and vowed the Blackface nor any similar incidents would ever take place at the private learning facility moving forward. Politis has since unenrolled her children from Studio Kids’ Little River Preschool, but the damage has been done. “The kids [have] been violated and they don’t even know it. We’ve done more for society than just by being Black. Like it’s blatant and pure ignorance, where you just did it on purpose, and you’re playing stupid, in my opinion,” the mother added.