Yes, you read that headline correctly. In protest of the school's COVID-19 vaccine mandate, Mabel Rush Elementary School Special Education Assistant Lauren Pefferle wore Blackface to work. A report from the Newberg Times found that Pefferle covered her face in iodine in an attempt to look more like civil rights icon Rosa Parks. Instead, security removed her from school grounds and she was placed on administrative leave. Shortly thereafter, the school district confirmed that Pefferle was removed from school grounds and issued an apology.
"Last Friday, one of our employees reported for work in Blackface. The employee was removed from the location, and HR has placed the employee on administrative leave. The administration of Newberg Public Schools condemns all expressions of racism. 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 school district stated in a press release.
"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 well-being 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," Newberg School District Superintendent Dr. Joe Morelock added.
As the story made its way from the Newberg Times to other places around the country, a number of people began to chime in with their commentary. Not to mention, a few people hopped in with their jokes about how bizarre the situation is.
"Now if conservatives weren’t killing themselves trying to keep children from learning Black history these days, soon-to-be-former Special Ed. Asst. Lauren Pefferle would have known why wearing Blackface in any context is foul. Oh, and that Rosa Parks was light-skinned," One People's Project Executive Director Daryle Lamont Jenkins tweeted.
"Something tells me this person gets their news from the same outlets that the folks on the trolley being interviewed by Ted Koppel get their news," political scientist Elizabeth F. Cohen added.