A Massachusetts Montessori school is under fire after instructing young children to make and wear Blackface masks as a Black History Month project.
The incident, which happened in a classroom with toddlers, took place last Tuesday at IC Kids in Newton.
When one mother picked up her children and learned what had happened, she complained and pulled them out of the school.
IC Kids apologized about the incident in a Facebook post that was also criticized. The school's Facebook account appears to have since been deactivated.
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"This is unacceptable and don't really understand the concept of this project," mother Nadirah Pierce told NBC10 Boston. "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."
School officials did not speak with NBC10 Boston on camera, but a statement was taped to a window at the facility.
"To celebrate 'black history month', a teacher in 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.
The statement also addressed the earlier apology on Facebook and said the teacher responsible had been "released from her employment."
"While wording of 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.
"Even if they weren't trying to offend, they have," Pierce told NBC10 Boston.
The school's statement said the school's day care had closed over "safety concerns," explaining that "Hearing of protests happening at the center will put the children and staff at risk."
NBC10 Boston did not witness any demonstrations at the facility on Monday.