*A staff member at an elementary school in Newberg, Oregon, showed up to work in Blackface last week in an attempt to protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
The employee at Mabel Rush Elementary School darkened her face with iodine and told fellow staff members that she wanted to look like Rosa Parks while protesting vaccination requirements, according to The Newberg Graphic. A statewide mandate was enacted forcing all K-12 school employees in Oregon to be fully vaccinated by October 18. The requirement was enacted by Democratic Governor Kate Brown last month amid a surge of new coronavirus cases in both children and adults.
The Newberg School District said the employee, who they didn’t identify, was removed from campus during the incident and immediately placed on administrative leave.
“The administration of Newberg Public Schools condemns all expressions of racism,” the school district said in a statement on Monday. “It is important to remember how Blackface has been used to misrepresent Black communities and do harm. We acknowledge the violence this represents and the trauma it evokes regardless of intention.”
The Blackface incident in Newberg comes after the district faced scrutiny last week when high school students were connected to a racist “slave trade” social media group, which joked about how much students would pay for their Black classmates in an auction.
The school has also recently received backlash for a decision to ban all “controversial political symbols” in the district, including Black Lives Matter and Pride flags, the news outlet reported.