MORRISTOWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The school called an insensitive flyer for a spring chorus performance a mistake, but some question how it could happen.
As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, it may be a case of a bad printer, but some parents said that’s no excuse for handing out a flyer to announce a middle school chorus concert.
“It’s pretty offensive looking,” Danielle Tomaszewski said.
“Oh my gosh, that’s like black face,” Gianna Patterson added.
The controversial program sparked a community meeting. The cartoon depicts nine children singing together including the image of an African American child among a diverse group of students.
The problem appears to stem from clip art that was copied on a black and white printer with red paper. But some said that’s no excuse for proceeding to distribute them.
“Well, they need to think about that before they do that because there could be a lot of repercussions from this,” Patterson said.
Others see it as an honest mistake.
“I think it was done by someone who didn’t spend too much time on it,” Sam Doyle said.
“People are overreacting,” Sam Janssen agreed.
The Morris Township superintendent sent a note to parents.
“The image that ended up on the concert flier is inconsistent with our most cherished values, and our most enduring aspirations,” the flyer said.
During the community meeting Thursday night, parents said there are many lessons to be learned.
“The principal and the superintendent were very apologetic to the families and the community,” said Yvette Long of the NAACP.
“The white community missed an opportunity in coming here tonight,” added resident Carl Chiolofo. “The white community should have been here as much as the African-American community was.”
The district said procedures will be put in place to prevent mistakes like this from happening again, and the school will continue to work to increase cultural awareness.
The school district also plans to investigate the teacher involved to make sure it was not an intentional act.