Southern York County School District principal who wore blackface will return to district after 1-year sabbatical, board says

Photo courtesy of Danny Boyce (@TheCoachesPick on Twitter)

YORK COUNTY — The Southern York County School District principal who became the subject of controversy earlier this year by wearing blackface during a staff meeting will return to the district in a “non-administrative position” following a one-year sabbatical, the school district confirmed in a statement Thursday.

Lisa Boyer’s year-long leave was approved by the school board at its June 20 meeting, the school district said in its statement.

Boyer, a principal at Friendship Elementary School, will return to the district after the 2019-20 school year. She will take a teaching position, according to the York Dispatch, which reported the minutes from the meeting.

Her return was approved by a unanimous 6-0 vote, the Dispatch says. Three board members were absent for the meeting.

At a meeting last summer, Boyer wore a fake mustache, a cap to cover her hair, a man’s suit, and skin-darkening makeup for a “Family Fued”-style game used as a staff team-building exercise.

Boyer said she was dressing as “Family Feud” host Steve Harvey.

The incident came to light when a former district contract employee tweeted about it in January.

School superintendent Sandra Lemmon disputed that account in a letter sent to the school district’s parents and guardians, noting that Boyer had been disciplined within days of the incident, the Dispatch says.

Statement from the Southern York County School District:

The School District Board of Education at its June 20, 2019 meeting approved a sabbatical request for
Mrs. Lisa Boyer.

The Public School Code permits all professional employees to take sabbatical leaves for either the
restoration of health or professional development, so long as those individuals possess the requisite
years of service and have satisfied the other requirements to take these leaves.

Mrs. Boyer is entitled to take a sabbatical leave under the law and the School District administration and
solicitor both reviewed her request and advised she has satisfied the necessary requirements for her
requested leave. As required by law, Mrs. Boyer intends to return to work at the conclusion of her
sabbatical leave, and will return to a non-administrative position within the School District. We wish Mrs. Boyer well, and look forward to her continued support of the District and its students in a different,
but equally important, role in the future.

The School District immediately began its search for a new Friendship Elementary principal and is
committed to having a smooth transition for the 2019-2020 school year.

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