“Offensive” musical work sparks special reunion at Frelinghuysen College on June 8

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UPDATE: Is that ‘offensive’ concert poster at FMS just a bad printer?

Concerts at Frelinghuysen Middle School usually send parents home buzzing with music.

But it’s the cover of a concert program that gets people talking this time around – and not in a good way.

An “insensitive and inappropriate” image of a black child in last month’s choral concert program at Frelinghuysen Middle School prompted Morris School District officials to hold a community meeting at the school on Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 19 ‘o clock.

School board president Leonard Posey, left, and the superintendent. Mackey Pendergrast, September 2015. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“On behalf of the school and the district, we deeply apologize for this inexcusable error and the pain and anger it has caused,” said the superintendent. Mackey Pendergrast and director Joseph Uglialoro said in a message to parents this week.

The cover of the May 31 show was a pen-and-ink cartoon of children singing in chorus. The lonely black child has spiky hair and is completely black except for the cutouts for his eyes. It almost looks like the youngster is wearing a dark ski mask.

Parents expressed their concerns at the district school board meeting on Monday, and board members have received numerous complaints over the phone, the board chair said. Leonard Posey.

“It was a blanket that people found offensive… I found it offensive too,” said Posey, who is African American.

He declined to comment on who approved the coverage or how it happened, and the superintendent could not immediately be reached for comment. Thursday’s meeting, Posey said, will include further discussion of the matter.

The general public, minorities and, in particular, the African American community, will have the opportunity “to ask questions and express their feelings,” Posey told Morristown Green.

This program coverage sparked controversy at Frelinghuysen College.
This program coverage sparked controversy at Frelinghuysen College.

This episode follows a pair of biased incidents that stimulated special sensitivity classes and programs at Morris Township College.

An anti-Semitic message was scrawled in a girl’s toilet in March. Four swastikas were etched in a boys’ washroom in February.

Frelinghuysen Middle School Principal Joseph Uglialoro listens to Rohan Murphy on March 17, 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Frelinghuysen College Principal Joseph Uglialoro attends a tolerance meeting in March 2017. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

In their last message to parents, Pendergrast and Uglialoro said that the school and the district “accept our diversity as our greatest strength”.

Educators strive to ensure that every child is “honored and respected,” they said.

“The image that ended up on the concert flyer is incompatible with our dearest values ​​and our most enduring aspirations,” officials said.

They pledged to establish procedures so that “this mistake will never happen again” and to strive “to increase cultural awareness, intercultural skills and the sensitivity of everyone in our school community”.


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