A Florida preschool has come under fire after photos surfaced of a two-year-old black girl participating in a “racially immoral” Rosa Parks role-play.
The young woman was reportedly playing the role of civil rights activist Rosa Parks in a disturbing role-play of her arrest in 1955 when she refused to give up her seat for a white passenger on a segregated bus.
In the role play photos, the toddler is being arrested and fingerprinted.
Photos of the classroom display were released to parents, angering the girl's guardians. Her parents responded by pulling her out of Building Brains Academy daycare in Osceola within 30 minutes.
“I can't believe this is happening to our daughter,” Jay, the girl's father, told NBC News..
“It was our daughter who had her hands held behind her back by another child who was wearing a police vest,” he said, describing the photos.
“What I keep playing over in my mind is the look on our daughter's face.”
The NAACP, an American civil rights organization, condemned the performance, calling it “racially immoral” in a press release.
“We view the activity as an inappropriate trivialization of an important historical event, insensitive to struggles against segregation, and psychologically harmful to all students involved, especially black students who reenact such a traumatic moment in American history,” the NAACP wrote in a letter to them school.
The organization asked the school in the letter to stop such activities as part of its curriculum and demanded a formal statement of apology for all those involved in the “painful incident”.
The letter also implied that the student was handcuffed by a white peer, but a spokesman for the preschool claimed to NBC News that the student was not white and no restraints were actually used.
“Photos of the classroom activity do not provide a complete or accurate representation of the full lesson on the importance of equal rights,” wrote Paola Rosado, owner and founder of the preschool, in a letter responding to the NAACP, the agency reported.
“Our school believes in and teaches the importance of equality, standing up for our rights and speaking up when we see something is wrong.”
Even if no restraints were used, the NAACP said, according to the report, that the “emotional trauma” from the class action is “staggering.”
The young student's mother told the newspaper that when they asked the school why the role-play took place, she was told that “the teacher is not from America” and “doesn't understand the real context behind Rosa Parks.”
The spokesperson told the show that the teacher apologized and now understands why the role-play should not have happened.
“We teach these lessons not to celebrate the wrongdoings of others in the past, but to encourage our children to prevent such actions in the future,” the school said in a statement to Fox 35..
“We deeply regret the assumption that our teachers, leadership or administration would choose in any way to make a child feel uncomfortable or singled out in a negative way.”
The role-play was reportedly a spontaneous activity and not part of the regular curriculum, and Building Brains Academy claimed they apologized to parents and the NAACP, but the organization is still seeking a more formal apology from the preschool.
The independent Contact Building Brains Academy for comment.