School board member who wore blackface now receives an award

On Friday, Ted Bonner, a Blevins school official whose blackface Halloween costume sparked protests a few months ago, stands with a crowd of supporters as he receives an award for "Outstanding Board Member."

Bonner, a member of the school board in the small town of Blevins, Arkansas, came under fire in November after a photo surfaced of him with his face painted black and his lips red, dressing in bib overalls and a straw hat for a party, all the while holding a sign that read, "Blak Lives Matters."

After the photo spread virally online, Blevins school officials were unable to get rid of Bonner, an elected official, who also refused to resign despite pressure from the regional NAACP chapter in Arkansas.

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Bonner was recognized with the award on Monday night during a school board meeting. Official orders by the local Fire Marshal's department, in a town of populated of only 309 residents, cited that a maximum of 28 people were allowed inside the room.

There were mixed reactions across the group of people who stood outside of the room, some in support of Bonner's recognition and several in opposition.

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Kristen Garner, an attorney for Arkansas School Boards Association, understands the "irony" of the situation, and explains the award came about by accident.

"It's a small enameled lapel pin," Garner told the Washington Post. "We encourage the local district to present these to the board member, because it creates a nice photo op," Garner said. "It was all generated and sent out before anyone had any idea."

It's standard routine for those on the school board who have completed at least 25 hours of state-mandated training in classes for various subjects to receive such certification.

Bonner may due for another award if he completes 25 additional hours of training, earning the group's "Master Board Member" award.

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