An elected official in Arkansas is now facing public backlash after pictures of him wearing blackface surfaced online.
Ted Bonner is a school board member in the Blevins District.
“A superintendent doesn't have any power to address a problem on the part of an individual board member. Board members are collectively the boss of the superintendent,"Kristen Garner, staff attorney with the Arkansas School Boards Association told KATV.
School Board President Justice West further explained the dilemma in a statement issued to Channel 7:
"I am aware of the incident that has occurred and find it very upsetting and distasteful. That action does not represent the values of the Blevins School District, the school board, or our community. However, the school board nor the school administration holds the power under the law to discipline or remove a school board member, only the voters have that power during the next school board election. The issue was addressed at Monday nights’ board meeting along with a sincere apology from the individual board member for the thoughtless act.
— Justice West"
Bonner has since apologized for the photo and district Superintendent Billy Lee released the following statement:
"This district is deeply committed to creating and maintaining a strong and healthy school culture free of bullying, and any form of discrimination. I have no personal knowledge of any actions by district staff or elected officials. Please rest assured that if it comes to my attention that any staff member has behaved in a way inconsistent with this district's values and policy of anti-discrimination, a swift investigation and response would be forthcoming."
(Photo: KATV ABC 7)