A Wisconsin school district is investigating after a student allegedly wore blackface to girl’s basketball game over the weekend.
In a letter to parents, Sun Prairie Area School District officials said the student posted a photo of himself in the offensive get-up on social media Saturday while attending the game, NBC 15 reported. He was reportedly confronted by peers, prompting him to remove the makeup.
“This behavior isn’t aligned to our district mission and vision of supporting every child, every day,” the district said in the letter. “There is no excuse for it. School administration is working on a full investigation, and the situation is being addressed.”
Officials said the student, identified as a male, applied the makeup at some point during the game, noting he wasn’t in blackface when he first arrived. They said personnel “would have acted immediately” and barred the teen from attending the event had they been aware of it earlier.
Further condemning the incident, the district explained that “images of blackface evoked reminders of a racist and painful history for African- Americans.” The letter also provided a link to a History.com article titled “How the History of Blackface is Rooted in Racism” and urged parents to use the website to “support your conversations at home.”
The district hasn’t named the school at which the incident took place, nor have they released details about possible punishments the student might face.
On Tuesday, more than 100 students at Sun Prairie High, Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School and Prairie Phoenix Academy staged a mass walkout in response to the incident. During the protest, students brought up several issues with district leaders, including the need to hire more teachers of color and a review of the curriculum to ensure students are educated on the richness of Black history and culture.
“Today’s incident highlights the importance of having courageous conversations about race with our students, within our schools, and in collaboration with our community at large,” the district said in a statement shared with Atlanta Black Star. “We cannot hope to eliminate the racial disparities in our system in unless we first discuss race and racism in a way that’s honest and proactive.”
It continues: “Everyone plays a vital role in increasing racial consciousness in our schools in order for us to achieve our vision.”
The incident is the latest in a string of instances involving students, and even some elected leaders, who’ve faced backlash for donning blackface. Earlier this month, an Oregon teen called the outrage “unfair” and claims she faced death threats after being spotted in a group photo with her face painted black.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey apologized, but refused to step down after it was revealed that she wore blackface in college.