BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The mother of a second-grader was horrified to find her son with what looked like a bullet hole painted onto his forehead last week.
Amonn Jackson, 7, had face makeup put on as part of an activity in a drama class at Phillips Academy in Birmingham, Alabama, but it wasn’t removed afterward, and Jackson left school with the realistic-looking wound design still on his face.
His mother, Zakiya Milhouse, shared a photo of Jackson in the makeup to her Facebook page, expressing outrage over the teacher’s decision to paint a bullet hole.
“So they did this in drama class and my boy said the teacher said it's like he got shot,” Milhouse wrote in the post. “I don’t care if it’s Halloween or NOT !”
“It was supposed to be a gunshot wound,” Milhouse told AL.com. “That’s when I got upset. A gunshot wound.”
“This actually happens to our black young men,” she added. “If you saw it in person, it looked real.”
Other parents shared similar concerns on Milhouse’s post, one of them writing, “This is very offensive, and very demeaning. It sends the wrong signal with the way Black men are losing their lives at the hand of gun violence.”
After posting the photo of Jackson in the gunshot makeup online, Milhouse received a call from the school principal, who apologized and called the incident “unacceptable,” AL.com reports. Milhouse said that when the teacher who taught the unit apologized, he said “he didn’t really think it was a big deal,” but assured her he would remove the unit from his lesson plan.
Birmingham City Schools released a statement in response to the incident, explaining that permission slips had been sent home to parents before students participated in the theater class unit involving the make up, but some people still felt that the depiction of a bullet hole was inappropriate for the lesson.
One commentor on Milhouse’s post wrote, “I can guarantee the permission slip did not indicate that her young child would be participating in a demonstration of gun violence. It’s highly offensive and inappropriate.”
Below is the full statement from Birmingham City Schools:
Birmingham City Schools is aware of an image posted by a parent on social media depicting a wound on a student’s head. The student was participating in a theater class unit on stage, film, and special effects.The teacher sent permission forms home with students making parents aware of the unit and requesting permission to put makeup on students.Students were asked if they would like the makeup on their hands or faces, and this student chose his face. Students are never forced to participate, and they had the option to skip a design.The teacher and principal called the student’s mother to apologize for the incident, and the teacher assured the student’s mother that no malice was behind the depiction.The teacher also stated that the only aim in teaching makeup techniques is to help students appreciate and understand the technical elements of performing arts.As a culturally responsive school system, Birmingham City Schools takes issues like this very seriously and does not condone the graphic nature of this lesson on special effects. We regret any issues and perceptions this incident may have caused, and this portion of the lesson will be removed from the unit.”
This story was reported from Los Angeles.