The superintendent of Sullivan High School, about 60 miles outside of St. Louis, has apologized for a powder puff football game in which a team comprised of white senior players wore full blackface, an act of poor taste which would seem to be particularly distressing given Sullivan’s relative proximity to the events that transpired in Ferguson, Mo.
“Their choice to wear blackface paint was not motivated by any racial intent,” Sullivan Superintendent Thomas Allen told The (Columbia) Missourian. “There was no intention to offend anyone, but some people were offended.
“The school district is sincerely apologetic for it.”
The clear insensitivity never even occurred to the girls in question, according to the school’s principal. More troubling still is that the principal herself apparently didn’t see anything wrong with the blackface competitors, either, according to an interview with St. Louis alternative news outlet The Riverfront Times.
Allen answered questions from The Missourian with Schmidt and Assistant Superintendent Jana Thornsberry on a speaker phone, he said. He reiterated Schmidt’s point that no ill intent was intended. Schmidt had previously said the girls intended to wear black and gold but got to the game and realized they all had only bought black paint.
“As a school district, we’re very apologetic to those who were offended by it,” he said.
“There is a history to the powder-puff games,” Allen said. “The seniors wear face paint. Last year, they wore blue shirts and had blue faces. This year, they wore pink and black shirts.”
Allen said the school intends to add more language to the student code of conduct. “We have guidelines in place,” he said. “But, we didn’t account for everything that can happen. We will make sure this doesn’t happen again.”