Oregon school employee goes to work in blackface, put on leave

An employee at a school outside Portland, Oregon went to work in blackface last week and has been placed on administrative leave, according to a message from the district.

KTVL-TV reports the Newberg School District wrote, "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 board has scheduled a special meeting Wednesday night to take public comment on their "recent actions, tabled motions, and upcoming decisions that may include the ban on political or controversial displays, changes to the Anti-Racism Resolution 2020-04 language."

In August the school board voted to ban pride flags, flags reading Black Lives Matter and any broadly "political" signs, clothing, and other items. Supporters of the ban said the signs were "divisive," and that signs don’t make people feel safe.

The action went against recent state efforts to highlight support for students, including the Oregon Department of Education’s Black Lives Matter October 2020 resolution and recent efforts to help LGBTQ+ students.

The Department of Education, the city of Newberg, the American Civil Liberties Union, some lawmakers and others have called for the board to reverse course.

Newberg is about 20 miles southwest of Portland.

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