Mom concerned with ‘Monkey Award’ given to her pre-K son

Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 11:20 AM EDT
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BATESVILLE, Miss. (WMC/Gray News) – An award given to a pre-K student in Mississippi left his mother asking questions.

Shemekia Ellis voiced concerns when her son brought home the “Monkey Award … for entertaining others.”

Her son received other awards, too, but the one comparing him to a monkey is something Ellis did not expect.

“He was excited about the award, but he had no idea what he was holding,” Ellis told WMC. “It’s unacceptable for me.”

Ellis met with school district officials who told her what happened was unacceptable. They said her child’s teacher didn’t know the history behind Blacks being compared to monkeys.

“She said the teacher stated that she gave him the award for his energy,” Ellis said. “But the award doesn’t say anything about energy. It says entertainment.”

Ellis said the principal told her school leaders had a meeting before the ceremony cautioning them to be sensitive about the awards given to students.

“I’m still not happy about it. I’m angry because I don’t understand why my son got the monkey award when he had received an award that he completed pre-K,” Ellis said.

Ellis said she was told award ceremonies like this one will not happen anymore. Now she just wants an apology from the district.

“These teachers have messed up,” Ellis said. “They were wrong. The superintendent knew they were wrong. The principal knew they were wrong. They need to be held accountable for what they have done.”

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