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SHELBY, NC (AP) — Union County Schools officials acknowledge that a letter asking elementary school students to dress in “African American attire” to celebrate Black History Month was poorly worded, but had good intentions.

The Charlotte Observer reports the letter was sent home with Western Union Elementary School students in advance of the school’s Feb. 28 celebration. The letter said if students did not have “African American attire,” they were encouraged to wear animal-print clothing or shirts with zebras or giraffes on them.

Spokeswoman Luan Ingram said the school system is reminding its principals to be very sensitive when communicating with parents concerning different ethnic groups and cultures.

The school system said the “African American attire” in the letter refers to traditional African clothing like the students studied during the month.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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