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Oregon teens wear blackface at high school event, sparking outrage

A group of Lebanon teenagers wore blackface at a haunted barn fundraiser over the weekend, sparking outrage and condemnation.

Posted: Oct 29, 2019 10:45 AM

LEBANON, Ore. – A group of Lebanon teenagers wore blackface at a haunted barn fundraiser over the weekend, sparking outrage and condemnation.

The teens were at an event hosted by the local chapter of Future Farmers of America at a school-owned barn. They took a photo, using an offensive hashtag, captioning the photo "N***** Gang."

When the photo was screenshotted, it blew up online.

On Monday, Lebanon High School Principal Craig Swanson addressed the school, saying it was hateful, demeaning and offensive. He was unable to say whether the kids are still in school but said he is investigating.

School officials are working with NAACP Corvallis/Albany President Angel Harris.

Superintendent Bo Yates of Lebanon Community Schools released a statement Monday saying in part that he is "saddened that any student would post a racist comment or fail to understand the racist connotations of darkening one's face."

Swanson said the incident was deplorable and not representative of Lebanon's values.

"It is completely insensitive -- hateful in nature -- what was posted," he said. "We want to make sure they have an avenue to report that so we can address it."

Defenders of the teens said the teens wore the paint to better disguise themselves in the haunted barn. Some even commented that it is a yearly tradition for students to wear blackface at the event.

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