School’s Black History Month ‘animal attire’ letter causing an uproar

A spokeswoman for an elementary school in North Carolina has apologized for a "poorly worded" letter sent to parents in February, which suggested the students wear "animal print" clothing in honor of Black History Month.

WSOCTV reports that the Western Union Elementary School in North Carolina's Union County sent the letter, which also suggested dressing in "African-American attire," in celebration of the school's Feb. 28 Black History Day. The letter was published online by the LGBT rights blog

"While it was well-intended, it was poorly worded," Union County Public Schools' Chief Communications Officer Luan Ingram said in a statement. "We are reminding all of our principals to be very sensitive in word choices when communicating with parents concerning different ethnic groups and cultures that make up our world."

Ingram said the students had been studying the history of Africans who had been forcibly brought to America as slaves and that the clothing suggestion was meant to honor their cultural heritage, not be a commentary on modern African-American clothing.

Ingram told the Charlotte Observer that a similar letter had been sent home to students for the past seven or eight years and that none of the students' parents had complained about it.

An image of the letter first appeared on the photo sharing site Imgur and quickly made its way to Reddit. The full text of the letter reads:

"Parents, during the month of February, Western Union students have been studying Black History. On Tuesday, February 28, WUES will participate in a Black History Day. We will have speakers from 8-10am. We are encouraging students to dress in 'African American attire.' If you do not have this, students could wear animal print clothing or shirts with animals native to Africa (zebras, giraffes, lions, elephants, etc.) Thank you!"

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