Chicago school addresses 'inappropriate and bias-based' Halloween costume incident

A Chicago elementary school is taking action to address a recent incident involving an "inappropriate and bias-based" Halloween costume worn by a member of their school community this week.

The principal of Inter-American Magnet School, located at 851 W. Waveland Ave. on the city's North Side, has been meeting with students and staff members to emphasize that racism has no place in their community. The incident has also been reported to the Office of Student Protections and Title IX.

The school says it's committed to fostering an environment where diversity and respect are valued, and this incident serves as a reminder of the importance of promoting inclusivity and combating racism in educational institutions.

According to Block Club Chicago, a 7th grader wore Black-face on Tuesday when the child came dressed as Madea, which is a character portrayed by actor Tyler Perry.

Principal Zayas sent the following letter to the school community on Wednesday:

"Dear Inter-American Parents and Guardians,

One of my top priorities is creating a safe, welcoming, and inclusive school environment for all of our students and staff. This is why I am writing to let you know that we have been made aware that a member of our school community wore an inappropriate, bias-based Halloween costume to school yesterday. We have notified the Office of Student Protections and Title IX to help us address this matter and provide support to our school. While I cannot provide additional details about this incident for privacy reasons, I can confirm that we are handling it in accordance with CPS policies.

I want to make it abundantly clear that bias-based behavior has no place at Inter-American and will not be tolerated. We will be reminding our students and staff of this at school, and we ask that you reinforce this message at home. If your child has voiced any concerns about this situation, please let us know so we can connect them with a counselor or other social-emotional support.

My team and I will continue striving to ensure that everyone feels a deep sense of belonging and respect while at Inter-American. Thank you for your partnership and continued support of our school. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions.

Principal Zayas"