Children are typically sent home with different awards at the end of the year after having a major accomplishment like straight As or perfect attendance. The children rush home proud and eager to show off their honorable awards to their parents or family.
When a child is given a discriminatory award, it becomes a different story.
A Black pre-K student from an elementary school in Batesville, Mississippi, was sent home with an award called the “Monkey Award” for “entertaining others,” according to WKYT.
The student’s mother, Shemekia Ellis, told WKYT that her son was so excited about the award, but “he had no idea what he was holding.”
She called the award “unacceptable.”
Ellis met with the school district officials who said the teacher didn’t know the history behind “Blacks being compared to monkeys,” according to WKYT.
“She said the teacher stated that she gave him the award for his energy,” Ellis told WKYT. “But the award doesn’t say anything about energy. It says entertainment.”
WKYT reported that the student also received other awards, such as a certificate of completing pre-K, which added more confusion to Ellis on why her son received the “Monkey Award.”
“These teachers have messed up,” Ellis told WKYT. “They were wrong. The superintendent knew they were wrong. The principal knew they were wrong. They need to be held accountable for what they have done.”
Ellis is still not happy about what happened to her son and would like an apology from the district.