Karrington Kenney, the student who posted the clip on social media, told local television station KTVU she was upset that a teacher would think blackface was acceptable.
The district did not identify the teacher’s race, but Kenney indicated he was white.
“To see that he really thought that was okay and it was a joke, it really hurts, especially being one of the handful of black people that we have at our school,” said Kenney, who serves as vice president of the black student union at the San Francisco Bay-area school.
In a joint statement, Milpitas Unified School District Superintendent Cheryl Jordan and Milpitas High School Principal Francis Rojas said the teacher’s decision to wear blackface was “disparaging to our students, parents, colleagues and the Milpitas community,” noting its “historical and present-day connotation of racism.”
“In a school community where we welcome learners and families from over 50 languages who represent cultures and religions throughout the world, and where our long-standing neighborhood, Sunnyhills, was established as the first city in the nation for planned integration, it hurts to know that this type of cultural insensitivity and lack of cultural awareness still hovers in the background,” the statement said.
The district plans to take “appropriate action” following an investigation into the teacher.