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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.”