Boy in MLK blackface causes stir at school

May 17, 2012 at 4:44 PM
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PEYTON, Colo., May 17 (UPI) -- The parents of a Colorado second grader said officials overreacted when they had their son remove his face paint while portraying Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Michelle and Anthony King said their son, Sean, was instructed to come to school at Meridian Ranch Elementary School in Peyton dressed as the civil rights leader for his class' "living wax museum" project, KKTV, Colorado Springs, reported Thursday.

Michelle King said the principal and three district staff members approached her and said the black face paint would have to be removed because a school employee took offense.

"It's embarrassing," she said. "It's sad for the kids and sad for Sean because he's a very good student. He really thinks of school very highly.

King said staff members told her they could not say if her son would face punishment if he did not remove the makeup. The mother said she took Sean home to change.

"I think they took it farther than what it had to be," the mother said.

A spokeswoman said the principal deemed the costume a disruption after receiving a complaint from a school employee.

"When something becomes offensive or distracting, that's when it falls under the board policy of dress code, and making sure if something is distracting, that it's removed from the learning environment," Stephanie Wurtz-Meredith said.

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