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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

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In protest over the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, school staff members work in Blackface

Rosa Parks-inspired staffer at an elementary school in Oregon has been suspended for protesting the school’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate dressed as a civil rights leader. 

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Rosa Parks-inspired staffer at an elementary school in Oregon has been suspended for protesting the school’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate dressed as a civil rights leader. 

As reported by CBS station KOIN, Lauren Pefferie, a special education aide at Newberg’s Mabel Rush Elementary School, insisted on wearing Blackface at the presentation and blackened her face with iodine. Her outfit and behavior, according to an anonymous staff member, allowed Pefferie to show her opposition to the vaccination mandate discreetly. Rather than being retained in the area, she was banned because her behavior was deemed racist. 

One of our employees presented himself for work wearing blackface last Friday (Sept. 17), the school district stated in a statement. “The employee has been terminated from his or her position and placed on administrative leave by [human resources]. Neither Newberg Public Schools nor its administration tolerate racism of any kind.” 

“We must not forget how Blackface has misrepresented Black communities and caused harm.” There is no question that this represents violence and evokes trauma, regardless of the intention.” 

In response, the district stated that all reports of incidents are taken seriously, and that appropriate action is taken after a thorough investigation. The mission of our school is to ensure that future generations are educated in a safe and welcoming environment free of bullying and physical, emotional, and mental harm. Please continue to work toward this goal.” 

At a Newberg conference, district Superintendent Joe Morelock spoke about Pefferie’s actions, noting that his actions are inconsistent with those of his staff members. It is a horror, an angry and embarrassing event for me, as it is for nearly every member of staff,” he said. It goes against everything that I and the vast majority of NSD staff believe, and it is incomprehensibly offensive. 

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