The caucasity continues as Lauren Pefferle, a special education assistant who the school district was trying to keep anonymous, has come under fire after showing up to work in blackface and calling herself Rosa Parks.
According to The Washington Post, Pefferle arrived at Mabel Rush Elementary School in Newberg to protest a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all school district staff. The New School District wrote in a release, “It is important to remember how blackface has been used to misrepresent Black communities and do harm. We acknowledge the violence this represents and the trauma it evokes regardless of intention.”
A staff member who spoke to the Newberg Graphic on condition of anonymity claimed Pefferle “darkened her face with iodine. Pefferle was soon removed from school grounds and placed on administrative leave.”
“Each incident report is always taken seriously as we diligently follow our policies to investigate and take appropriate action. We continue to work towards a safe and welcoming environment in our schools that is free from bullying and reduces mental, emotional, and physical harm as we move forward together in our mission of educating students.”
The incident comes after a student who attends Newberg High School was connected to a racist “slave trade” Snapchat group. A protest occurred in solidarity with Newberg’s Black students by a visiting girls soccer team, and the school board’s months-long controversial attempt to ban Black Lives Matter and Pride displays came to be perceived as a “politicized” gesture.
Tai Harden-Moore, a former candidate for school board who has Black children in the district, said that Newberg can and must be better than this incident. The so-called “Slave Trade” group posted images of Black students associated with dollar values and engaged in threatening speech. In August the school board voted to ban pride flags, Black Lives Matter flags, and any broadly “political” signs, clothing, and other items.
Supporters of the ban on those items said the signs were “divisive” and that signs don’t make people feel safe.
However, Harden-Moore countered, “That [incident] was only a couple of months ago. Our county leadership is saying basic public health measures are akin to Jim Crow. There is a line between our political leadership and something like this happening. Our leadership matters.”
The policy, which Newberg’s school board voted to approve once, will be up for a second reading and possible approval later this month.
Pefferle has not shared a comment.