Birmingham School Apologizes, Teacher Didn’t Think It Was a ‘Real Big Deal’ to Paint Bullet Wound on Black 7-Year-Old’s Forehead

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A Black mom in Alabama called out a Birmingham school when her son was sent home with a bullet wound painted on his forehead that she later found out the drama teacher painted.

Zakiya Milhouse shared the photo of her son Amonn Jackson, a second-grader at Phillips Academy in downtown Birmingham, on Facebook Tuesday.

“So they did this in drama class and my boy said the teacher said it’s like he got shot,” Milhouse said in the Facebook post. “I don’t like that shit ! I don’t care if it’s Halloween or NOT ! A bullet hole in the head 🤬🤬”

Boy with painted bullet wound in head
A drama teacher paints a bullet wound on the forehead of Amonn Jackson, a second grader in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo: Zakiya Milhouse on Facebook)

Milhouse told Birmingham News the wound looked real in person and that drawing it on a Black boy’s forehead was inappropriate.

“This actually happens to our black young men,” she said. “If you saw it in person, it looked real.”

The 7-year-old’s mother told Birmingham News she spoke to the teacher after she saw the makeup and he apologized.

“He didn’t think it was a real big deal,” she said. “He said he did paint on different kids, such as black eyes. He said was going to take it out of his lesson plan.”

Birmingham City Schools said in a statement Birmingham News obtained that the student was “participating in a theater class unit on stage, film, and special effects” when he chose the face.

“The teacher sent permission forms home with students making parents aware of the unit and requesting permission to put makeup on students,” the district said.

“Students were asked if they would like the makeup on their hands or faces, and this student chose his face,” the district said. “Students are never forced to participate, and they had the option to skip a design.”

Milhouse admitted that she signed a permission slip but she still believed a bullet wound was “too much,” according to Birmingham News.

The district added: “The teacher and principal called the student’s mother to apologize for the incident, and the teacher assured the student’s mother that no malice was behind the depiction. The teacher also stated that the only aim in teaching makeup techniques is to help students appreciate and understand the technical elements of performing arts.

“As a culturally responsive school system, Birmingham City Schools takes issues like this very seriously and does not condone the graphic nature of this lesson on special effects. We regret any issues and perceptions this incident may have caused, and this portion of the lesson will be removed from the unit.”