Oklahoma City Public Schools apologizes for racial stereotype during Black History Month

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A local school district is apologizing after a racial image was found during a Black History Month celebration.

Oklahoma City Public Schools created a frame with the words ‘Black History Month’ that had images of a watermelon on it.

Officials say that’s a negative stereotype created in the 1800’s.

Deputy Superintendent Jason Brown saw the frame and ordered that it be taken down.

On Thursday, Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Sean McDaniel posted a public apology.

“Recent actions taken by some of our team members intending to celebrate Black History Month were inappropriate and hurtful. A photo frame was created that displayed an image of a negative racial stereotype toward some of our OKCPS family. This is especially harmful in light of other incidents that have occurred in our state. It is my expectation that all people in our district are valued and that we operate in a culture of mutual respect.

As you know, we have released mandatory training on implicit bias. I have directed each division leader to ensure that all of their employees engage and complete the training by May 1. This is just one step but an important one as OKCPS shifts our school and overall district cultures toward policies and practices that promote and encourage environments that are diverse, inclusive, and accountable.

On behalf of the board and district leadership, I sincerely apologize for this and any other incident that has devalued any member of the OKCPS family. Going forward and without compromise, our learning and work environments will recognize, respect, and value all people.

We are on this equity journey together. My resolve is to hold myself accountable and to continue to work with all members of Team OKCPS to create a place where our children, families and staff feel safe and welcome. Excellence in OKCPS is not an option. It is our only way forward,” McDaniel said.

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