ATLANTA — An Atlanta charter school has apologized for a performance in which second-graders held blackface masks while reciting a poem about hiding the pain of discrimination .

The Kindezi School at Old Fourth Ward issued a statement Friday saying it will give teachers cultural competency training. It also says teachers will explain the poem to students while giving them a chance to express their feelings and thoughts.

The performance of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “We Wear the Mask” was Thursday, with masks resembling makeup worn by white performers in 19th-century minstrel shows.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that video on Facebook drew more than 830,000 views in 18 hours, prompting questions from parents and outrage from around the internet.

Parent Ari Lima tells WSBTV that Dunbar’s poem had nothing to do with blackface.


This story has been corrected to fix the spelling of “parents” and correct the day of the week in the summary line.

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