A Brooklyn school sent out an announcement for a fundraiser that for some reason included pictures of the PTA members in blackface.
The PTA of Public School 118, The Maurice Sendak Community School, sent out the announcements for a 1920s speakeasy-themed fundraiser. Now, the Education Department is investigating after a “concerned community member” sent pictures of the “all-white PTA executive board” posing for “horrid pictures of blackface.”
The community member also sent those pictures to the New York Daily News.
The PTA responds
The PTA’s co-president, Nadine Baldasare, issued an apology for the announcement and took responsibility for the oversight.
“There are no acceptable excuses for how this happened (it was late, I was tired, I was rushing, etc.) because no excuse can change what I know to be true. My privilege as a white person requires that I be conscientious, engaged and informed when representing our community and promoting events,” Baldasare wrote.
“I failed to be fully engaged here, and as a result, I added to a hostile media landscape that continues to deepen wounds carved by persistent racism in our society. I am deeply sorry.”
Baldasare also admitted that her resignation was under consideration.
“This is my error and I caused pain to my community. The question is what is the best next step?” she said. “There’s no disagreement here that I made an error and we as a community have to come together. It’s not an option to not look at it and not address it.”
On Wednesday, the district superintendent met with both parents and staff to discuss the issue and to listen to complaints alleging that the school has long struggled with racial issues.
“These serious reports are being investigated, and we’re working with the school community to create a schoolwide diversity board and ensure these concerns are swiftly addressed,” Education Department spokesman Douglas Cohen said.
“Schools must be inclusive environments that are welcoming of all students, staff and families.”