An Atlanta charter school received severe backlash after second-graders wearing blackface masks put on a performance for a black history program last week, reports said Saturday.

A video of students from Kindezi Old Fourth Ward Charter School reciting Paul Laurence Dunbar's poem “We Wear The Mask,” while holding black face masks with exaggerated bright red lips and white eyes, went viral over the weekend. The Dunbar poem, which was published in 1913, speaks of oppression endured by African-Americans.

It starts by saying: “We wear the mask that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes, This debt we pay to human guile; With torn and bleeding hearts we smile.”

The video, which was posted on Facebook, garnered over 2.8 million views and more than 6,000 views at the time of publishing this story.

People on social media criticized the school’s decision to let children perform with the masks and parents of the second grade students also said they found the recitation offensive.

“I thought it was damaging. I thought it was dangerous,” Marcus Coleman, a parent, told CBS46. “Here we are in a climate where our kids are dealing with military warfare, but now psychological warfare as well.”

“Theatrical messages are powerful, but when those theatrical messages are woven in the very fabric of the buffoonery and 'coonery' of this country, I feel that imagery is powerful," Coleman added.

Many were outraged after second graders at a charter school in Georgia held up blackface masks as part of a black history performance, March 31, 2018. In this representational image, student lockers and supplies are seen in a second grade classroom of the newly constructed Sandy Hook Elementary School, built to replace the building torn down after a gunman shot dead 20 young children and six educators in a 2012 massacre, in Newtown, Connecticut, July 29, 2016. REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin

Another parent named Ari Lima, whose third grade son reportedly appeared in a different part of the program, said she was shocked the school allowed the kids to perform the act.

“The children have been rehearsing for months, dress rehearsals, staying after school... There's no way in the world no one saw this. They allowed this to get on stage,” she told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Video of the performance showed it was being met with light applause.

Lima added: “You could kind of feel the uncomfortableness in the room.”

However, a student of the school said she was not bothered by the performance.

Fourth-grader Arianna Nickerson, who was present during the performance, said: “I'm not really offended by it, but I think that it's kind of offending to some people, but it kind of matters on the perspective of people.”

The school later released a statement in response to the outrage, apologizing for the performance.

"Kindezi Old Fourth Ward sincerely apologizes and accepts responsibility for the hurt, anger, frustration and disappointment caused by the poor judgement we made in having students use masks that mimic blackface," the statement read in part. "The school said it is investigating the matter and is committed to making sure this never happens again."

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Blackface can be traced back to white artistes performing in minstrel shows dating back to the mid-1830s. Those performers would paint their faces black and lips red in order to portray a black character, often at times as a caricature of reality.

The stereotypes played a pivotal role in cementing and spreading racist attitudes, images, and perceptions worldwide.