Listen, I don’t know what kind of little racist, homophobic kids they are raising out in Newberg, Ore., but their school district has been making the wildest headlines lately.
First, the school board voted to ban Black Lives Matter and Pride flags ahead of the academic year.
Then, they couldn’t even get a week into the school year without students at Newberg High School hosting a virtual slave trade on social media, “joking” about how much they would pay for their Black classmates in a slave auction.
Now, (cue internal screams) a Newberg School District staffer has been placed on administrative leave after she showed up to school in blackface to protest the new COVID-19 mandate for school district staff.
Here’s what happened, according to the Newberg Graphic:
A staff member at Mabel Rush Elementary School in Newberg showed up to work in Blackface on Friday, Sept. 17, calling herself Rosa Parks in protest of a vaccine mandate for all school district staff.
A fellow staff member at the school who provided initial information on the incident said Lauren Pefferle — a special education assistant who the school district said it would not name due to it being a personnel matter — darkened her face with iodine.
The concerned staff member, who requested anonymity for this story, said Pefferle explained that she intended to look like Rosa Parks and have her actions serve as a protest of a mandate requiring school district employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Pefferle was soon removed from school grounds and placed on administrative leave, according to a district statement.
I just feel like there were so many steps missing in the mental olympics Pefferle did to connect an anti-vax protest to Rosa Parks and blackface. Like, how did you get there? Please, walk me through it.
On Monday, the Newberg School District and its superintendent Dr. Joe Morelock released a lengthy statement on its website condemning racism. Here’s some of what the superintendent had to say:
We’ve seen some dehumanizing and deeply disturbing expressions of racism in recent days involving our district. As always, our deepest concern is for the wellbeing of our students and our staff. Every day, we work toward building an environment where every student is welcomed and safe, and where there is absolutely no tolerance for racist or bullying behavior.
Parents interviewed by NBC affiliate KGW also expressed that this recent string of headlines is not foreign to the people who go to the schools in the area.
One parent, Tai Harden-Moore, said her son, who was a student-athlete, was called racial slurs before he left Newberg High School for another school in Portland. “He was called the N-word in 7th grade, the school did very little about it,” Harden-Moore said to KGW. “Their approach was to protect the student who did it.”