Rachelle Clay, a teacher at The Kindezi School, will serve the suspension through May 14. The school’s principal, Gilberte Pascal, and eight other teachers will receive letters of reprimand, according to documents obtained Friday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The discipline follows a March 29 program that included students reciting Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem “We Wear the Mask” while holding up the controversial masks, which mimicked the look of makeup worn by white minstrel show performers beginning around the 1830s. The production was “not done with ill intent” but “demonstrated a significant lack of professional judgement,” Kindezi Executive Director Dean Leeper wrote in a letter to school families.
The school’s internal investigation found that some members of the second-grade team had reservations about the use of the masks but did not make their positions known to Clay or administrators. One person did not allow her students to wear the masks in rehearsal, though they were worn by students during the performance, sparking outrage from some parents and a viral video recording on social media.