Sullivan High School in Missouri is under fire after a group of teen girls wore blackface while playing a powder-puff football game on Nov. 5.
The powder-puff games are played between female teams of freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
Jennifer Schmidt, principal of Sullivan High School, told The Riverfront Times that she originally thought, "Oh my gosh" when the girls took the field, but added, "And then I thought, 'Oh, they don't mean anything by it. Just let it go. No one thinks anything of it.' I didn't think anyone did. Evidently, someone did."
An unidentified person posted a picture of the girls wearing blackface on Facebook, which has created a firestorm on social media and in Sullivan, noted USA Today.
Schmidt added that the girls are "very embarrassed and shocked at some of the responses they've gotten, because I think some people had some stuff on Facebook and got the wrong intention."
Schmidt claimed it's traditional for the senior girls' team to wear face paint as a parody of the black eye paint worn by male football players, however, in this case, the girls had their entire faces covered in black.
"There was nothing racial about it," insisted Schmidt. "They didn't have any other intention other than to just try to intimidate the underclassmen."
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After defending the face paint, Schmidt said, "I can assure you they will not be wearing black face paint again. In fact, we're probably just going to end the face paint thing, and nobody wears any at all."
Sources: The Riverfront Times, USA Today / Image Credit: Thomas R Machnitzki