A letter sent home with students at Western Union Elementary School in North Carolina didn't sit well with parents.
The note asked students to wear "African American attire" or animal print for a Black History Month event. When it surfaced on the Internet, community members responded with widespread criticism, WSOC-TV reports.
The letter also suggests wearing "shirts with animals native to Africa," like zebras, lions, giraffes and elephants.
The Charlotte Observer reports that school officials noted the 'African American attire" referred to traditional African clothing the students had been learning about at school.
In a statement, Luan Ingram, the school's chief communications officer said the letter wasn't meant to be offensive.
“While it was well intended, it was poorly worded,” Ingram said, according to the station. “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.”
Bloggers responded more explicitly.
"WHAT IN THE F--KING H-LL," wrote the Tumblr blog "Feminist Occupy Halloween." "This happened in North Carolina last month. Does anyone know what school it was? We need to bombard their offices with letters/calls."
Popular LGBT blog Unicorn Booty wrote that the school's statement undermines Black History Month in general.
"What’s the point of celebrating -– or hell, even learning about -– diversity if school administrators are unable to ascertain the difference between Black, African American, and African? Or for that matter, the difference between black people and African animals?"
In a separate attire-related controversy, a lawsuit filed against a Minnesota school district last August claimed that a Red Wing High School homecoming event called "Wigger Day" caused a black student "severe emotional distress including depression, loss of sleep, stress, crying, humiliation, anxiety, and shame."
"Wigger is a pejorative slang term for a white person who emulates the mannerisms, language and fashions associated with African-American culture," the complaint explained. Students were encouraged to dress in oversized sports jerseys, low-slung pants, baseball hats cocked to the side and doo-rags.
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