A Montessori school in Massachusetts is under fire after teaching young students to make and wear Blackface masks for a Black History Month project, NBC Boston reports.
IC Kids in Newton, the school where the incident took place, caused outrage among parents who were offended by the racist class project.
One mother, Nadirah Pierce, complained and pulled her children out of the school when she learned what happened.
On their Facebook page, which also garnered criticism, IC Kids offered an apology for the incident. The page has since been deactivated.
"To celebrate 'Black history month', a teacher in the toddler classroom [sic] at ICKids planned and carried out an activity that involved black masks 'blackface.' [sic] One of the parents brought it to our attention and was offended; The teacher apologized to the parent," the statement read.
Pierce said the Facebook apology was not sufficient.
"This is unacceptable and I don't really understand the concept of this project," Pierce said. "The apology received was empty and then to go onto Facebook and see that apology was disheartening. I hope this is a lesson to possibly really prepare to do projects on cultures before doing them to avoid a hurtful gesture to a group of people."
"Even if they weren't trying to offend, they have," she added.
In another statement, the school cited the Facebook apology and said the teacher responsible was "released from her employment."
"While the wording of the Facebook apology was not the best statement, we were trying to send a message to say that research for toddler curriculum was not executed or completed in the manner that It [sic] should have been, so we apologize to every and anyone this may have offended," the statement said.
The school's statement also noted that the school's daycare was closed over "safety concerns," saying that "hearing protests happening at the center will put the children and staff at risk."
No demonstrations have been reported since the incident happened.