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Indiana school to apologize over black masks

NEW ALBANY, Ind. — Administrators at a southern Indiana school district planned to apologize for costumes students at a predominantly white middle school wore to a basketball game, sparking allegations of racism.

Three New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. officials told members of an NAACP’ branch Monday that they intend to write a letter of apology to Parkview Middle School over the costumes worn by Highland Hill Middle School students.

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A handful of Highland students wore black masks — one with the face of a gorilla and another featuring President Obama’s likeness — to a Feb. 7 eighth-grade basketball game between the schools. Highland Hills students were encouraged to dress for the home game in all black to show their school spirit. Students were asked to wear other colors at earlier games.

But some parents questioned whether racism was involved considering the masks that were worn during the game against Parkview — a Jeffersonville school with several black basketball players.

Lisa Barnett, whose son played on Parkview’s team, said she thought the district has downplayed the issue.

‘‘It seemed like a whole cheering section right in back of our basketball team that either had on black nylon masks, they had on Obama masks, and a bunch of gorillas and monkeys,’’ Barnett told the News and Tribune.

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