On the list of things most decent people would agree you should never, ever do—wearing blackface would be on it. One Little Rock, Arkansas, school board member apparently didn’t get that memo.
Ted Bonner is a member of the Blevins School Board who thought it would be funny to dress up in blackface and make fun of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. He was photographed holding a sign that read “Blak Lives Matter” and parents were not happy. People familiar with Bonner say the photo was taken at a Halloween party.
“Number one, it’s appalling,” said Faye Smith, a local parent. “Number two, it’s inappropriate for a school board member to disrespect students that he’s over, who are black.” Smith went on to question why anyone would even find blackface funny. “Why is that every time you make a joke, it’s blackface?” said Smith. “Why is blackface funny? We have a whole race of people who don’t think looking in the mirror is a joke.”
Smith has two sons at Blevins High School and believes that “it’s a little bit hurtful in the way to think my children are being supervised by a person who feels like that is all they’re worth,”
School Superintendent Billy Lee released this statement:
“This district is deeply committed to creating and maintaining a strong and healthy school culture free of bullying, and any form of discrimination. I have no personal knowledge of any actions by district staff or elected officials. Please rest assured that if it comes to my attention that any staff member has behaved in a way inconsistent with this district’s values and policy of anti-discrimination, a swift investigation and response would be forthcoming.”
Lee also made clear that Bonner would not be forced to step down, as of now, and that he can finish his term, which expires in 2018.