Mississippi school under fire for giving Black preschooler 'Monkey Award'
Three children playing with blocks (Shutterstock www.shutterstock.com)

On Thursday, WKYT reported that an elementary school in Batesville, Mississippi is facing criticism after a Black preschooler was sent home with something called a "Monkey Award."

"Shemekia Ellis voiced concerns when her son brought home the 'Monkey Award … for entertaining others,'" reported Bria Bolden and Debra Worley. "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," said the report. "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.'"

According to the report, school officials also claim that they "had a meeting before the ceremony cautioning them to be sensitive about the awards given to students."

READ: ‘I can’t even go to a funeral’: Mom shocked after daughter shot at funeral for man killed by police

Other incidents at schools around the country may not have had such innocent intent.

In Louisville, Kentucky last month, a teacher allegedly used the word "monkey" to describe another student, sparking an investigation. And Black student athletes around the country have faced a number of incidents in which opposing fans made "ape noises" at them.