Blackface Halloween Costume Puts Iowa Teacher Under Investigation

Blackface performer.
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

An Iowa school teacher is under fire, after photographs of her attending a Halloween party in blackface one week ago surfaced publicly.

According to the Quad-City Times, Davenport School District superintendent Art Tate has confirmed via email that Walcott Elementary employee Megan Luloff is being investigated for showing up at a non-work related function in a fashion that he determines “never appropriate in any circumstance by any person.” A spokesperson for the Davenport Community Schools’ School Board has equally denounced Luloff’s choice of costume in a statement that, in part, reads: “The board does not condone the insensitivity these images depict and is very disappointed something like this is now connected to our school community.”

The photos in question show Luloff partying it up, posing alongside other attendees who were in costume for last the October 19 “Boos Bash” at the Walcott American Legion. One picture places the first-grade teacher between a gentleman decked out in American flag apparel and a woman wearing the ears and nose of a fox. Luloff, on the other hand, went the extra mile of painting her arms, neck, and face black in what the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports to have been her attempt at channeling Lafawnduh — a character from the 2004 movie “Napoleon Dynamite.”

News of the controversy comes as media personality Megyn Kelly negotiates a departure from NBC following the fall out from her comments defending blackface during a segment on her Today morning show. In spite of an apology that she immediately issued after questioning the offensiveness of blackface, Kelly has continued to face criticism from colleagues within the network, figures within the media profession, and members of the greater public.

Luloff’s actions have also proven untimely for the Davenport School District, which, according to the New York Times, has been operating under state supervision on the heels of a scandal that revealed a disproportionate number of minority students being tagged with special education classification and being subject to disciplinary action. Coupled with the burden that a blackface controversy now brings upon the district, it appears that the pressure has already amounted to heads rolling, with KWQC reporting that superintendent Tate has just announced his resignation effective October 31.

“I cannot clearly articulate how offensive and appalling it is to people of color,” the board’s vice president, Linda Hayes, said in response to the news. “In light of our recent developments within the district, this was in very poor taste, not to mention totally out of line with regard to professionalism.”