KIRKWOOD, Mo. (KTVI) — A Missouri elementary school and school district are receiving backlash from families over this year’s yearbook cover, which appears to exclude students of color.
Shortly after the North Glendale Elementary yearbook made it into students’ homes, parents of black students took to Facebook to share their disapproval of the cover, causing controversy between parents, the Parent Teacher Organization and Kirkwood School District administration.
“I am used to these types of activities that are going on with the Kirkwood School District. This is one of the things that we want to make others aware of. They are forgetting about minorities,” said parent Jeremy Jones, who has two children attending the school.
The school held a schoolwide contest allowing students to submit drawings to serve as the cover for the 2019-2020 yearbook. Parents say the drawing that was selected seemingly neglected students of color.
“Unfortunately, the Kirkwood School District dropped the ball here. North Glendale dropped the ball. They made a huge mistake for leaving the identity of African-American students out of their yearly school book,” said Jeremy Jones.
Since the PTO made the final decision, parents began arguing on its Facebook page. The page was recently taken down.
“It’s no shame to the kids because they were just doing their best to create their own art. But, you can see that as an adult, it didn’t have any type of cultural awareness,” said Jeremy Jones.
Resident Carl Jones said racial issues in Kirkwood are nothing new.
“We’ve tried for years to come to the table and negotiate, try to get things changed, and nothing seems to ever happen,” he said.
The PTO said they made a mistake, recognizing the cover does not represent all the school’s students. An email was sent to parents apologizing.
A statement released said, in part: “The PTO, the school, and the Kirkwood School District take full responsibility. We have all learned from this situation. We commend our school community in coming together to learn from each other.”
District administrators will have the yearbook reprinted with new cover art after an audit. They will be distributed to students at a later time.