Special Ed Assistant Shows Up To Elementary School In Black Face To Protest Vaccine Mandate As 'Rosa Parks'

Photo: Newberg School District
Mabel Rush Elementary School

A special education assistant working in the Oregon school district was placed on administrative leave on Monday for coming to work in blackface, reports have claimed

The woman creportedly ame to Mabel Rush Elementary School with her face darkened with dye to resemble Rosa Parks. The employee was allegedly trying to protest the vaccination mandate implemented for all public school employees in the state of Oregon.

The Oregon school district took action against the employee for wearing blackface. 

Newberg school district confirmed that the woman, whose name has not been released, was removed from the elementary school and placed on leave. 

“It is important to remember the terrible historical context of Blackface: how it has been used to misrepresent and demean Black communities, and how much harm and pain it continues to cause. This behavior represents violence and evokes trauma; it is beyond unacceptable,” the school district wrote in a statement. 

The district went on to say that they “condemn all forms of racism” and “each incident report is always taken seriously as we diligently follow our policies to investigate and take appropriate action.” 

Though, what exact actions are to be taken weren’t specified. 

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The portrayal of blackface is rooted in racism.

The act of doing blackface became popular after the abolition of slavery in the US. It was used as a way to mock Black people back in the Jim Crow Era, and the continued use of blackface in today’s society carries that racist agenda.

Any reason for someone to wear in blackface is participating in the toxic culture of racism, and it doesn’t matter if the results weren’t directly meant to be a mocking expression towards Black people, the root of blackface will always be that. 

The public school employee who showed up to protest something as trivial as a vaccination mandate in blackface was extremely disrespectful.

The repercussions for her actions should be bigger than a simple administrative leave, especially when she works around children, and more importantly children of color.

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A vaccination mandate for public school employees is not new information, with many states including California and Washington requiring it. While some states do have exemptions for those wanting to take weekly Covid tests, Oregon does not allow that. 

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It’s extremely disheartening and overall disturbing to know that someone felt motivated enough to walk into a public school with such a racially-charged agenda. It’s not only disrespectful to Black people within that community, but it also undermines the legacy of Rosa Parks, and all of the work that she accomplished within the civil rights movement.

There is no such thing as blissful ignorance, not in the case of blackface when there is so much information available about the traumatic history such an act has against the Black community.

For the students of color at the elementary school and around the Newbery school district, they don’t deserve to be subject to such blatant racism, especially from someone in power.

There needs to be more action taken involving this public school employee, because this is an extremely offensive act that can have lasting effects on the young Black children that attend the school. 

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.