Students in a high school cooking class allegedly decorated a chocolate dessert as blackface and sold it at a bake sale.
According to The Oregonian, Ayesha Freeman, the principal of Cleveland High School in Portland, Or., emailed parents on Thursday to relay “an event… that was hurtful to our staff and students of color.”
Cleveland student Brody Kreiter tweeted, “A bunch of white girls at my school made a blackface chocolate and we're all pissed about it...” alleging that a noose was also found hanging in a school entrance way.
a bunch of white girls at my school made a blackface chocolate and we're all pissed about it: a thread (PLEASE SHARE THIS SO SOMETHING CAN ACTUALLY BE DONE) tw: racism, sexual assault pic.twitter.com/eh6EXTLpbB— brody k (@brodyurbro) April 26, 2019
so the culinary teacher from my school got a face mold and filled it with dark chocolate. yesterday morning he gave it to the group of girls and told them to do whatever they wanted with it. they decorated it and called it "alfonso" because "it's a black name."— brody k (@brodyurbro) April 26, 2019
earlier this week, a noose was founding hanging in the front hallway. admin emailed some of the clubs saying that "it could have been interpreted as a symbol so racial hatred" which is extremely likely. our school has a history of swastikas being drawn on posters in the hallway— brody k (@brodyurbro) April 26, 2019
Kreiter said the teacher sold the item at the unusually high price of $10 and forced members of the black student union to purchase the cake in order to make it disappear.
the culinary teacher decided to put it up for sale, jacking the price up to $10 which is much higher than anything else culinary sells. i.e. if they make pizza, they'll charge $1 per slice. the teacher refused to take it out when it was finally recognized as an issue.— brody k (@brodyurbro) April 26, 2019
at this point, it was the afternoon and the thing had been sitting out all day for students to see. finally, someone from the black student union came to remove it, but the teacher insisted that they had to buy it. eventually, they paid the $10 and disposed of the cake.— brody k (@brodyurbro) April 26, 2019
He said the school apologized for the cake over the intercom. “This usually just means suspending students and dealing with it as fast as possible,” Kreiter tweeted. “This never means trying to tackle the emotional trauma that students have been enduring.”
update: they just made an announcement over the intercom apologizing that it happened and saying that they want to start a "restorative process." this usually just means suspending students and dealing with it as fast as possible. this never means trying to tackle the emotional— brody k (@brodyurbro) April 26, 2019
trauma that the students have been enduring.— brody k (@brodyurbro) April 26, 2019
And Kreiter tweeted a May 2018 Instagram post from the school’s culinary account, that read, “Alfanso and his tribe would like to say we like chocolate!!”
When reached by Yahoo Lifestyle, school spokesperson Harry Esteve said, “We are still gathering facts to determine exactly what happened. We want and expect our schools to be places where all students feel safe, welcome, included and respected by staff and classmates. Any act of racism, racial insensitivity or discrimination of any sort is completely unacceptable at our schools. Our primary focus in the days ahead is on giving our students any and all supports they need as they begin to heal from this incident.”
Esteve sent Yahoo Lifestyle a note to families from the school communicating a May 1st panel discussion, a May 2nd “Anti-hate assembly” specific to its Native American community, and a social studies lesson on the history of blackface.
“Ensuring that our school is a safe, respectful, and hate free space is core to our work at Cleveland,” wrote principal Ayesha Freeman. “While the above events are reflective of activities just this week, we know this is something that is constant, ongoing work with our staff, students and community. We will continue to keep equity work at the center of our professional learning as school as we finish this year and prepare for next year. Our mission at Cleveland HS is to promote active, responsible citizens and provide a community where everyone is included. There is no place for hate speech or racism at our school. We must come together to demand change and protect our students.”
Kreiter declined an interview with Yahoo Lifestyle. The Oregonian reports that Freeman sent an email Monday about a string that was hung like a noose in a school doorway.
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