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NEWBERG, Ore. – An elementary school staffer in Oregon likened herself to civil rights icon Rosa Parks when she showed up to work on Friday in blackface to protest a systemwide COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

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Newberg Public Schools, which did not identify the staffer or the school, placed the woman on administrative leave after removing her from the school’s premises, KPTV reported.

A colleague of the woman, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Newberg Graphic that special education assistant Lauren Pefferle darkened her face with iodine.

The newspaper also identified Mabel Rush Elementary School as the location for the incident.

“The administration of Newberg Public Schools condemns all expressions of racism,” the district said in a statement posted to its website. “It is important to remember how Blackface has been used to misrepresent Black communities and do harm. We acknowledge the violence this represents and the trauma it evokes regardless of intention.”

Meanwhile, the unidentified colleague told The Newberg Graphic that Pefferle explained that her action was intended to serve as a protest of the vaccine mandate and that she intentionally invoked Parks’ likeness to make her point.

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