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A group of girls from a summer camp were allegedly told to leave a gift shop at Jenkinson's Aquarium in Point Pleasant Beach
The employee who asked them to leave claims it was because they weren't with a chaperone
"I had to explain to 40 girls that they are still valuable... even if racist folks try to hurt them!" the woman who runs the camp wrote
A group of black girls from a summer camp were told they weren’t welcome in an aquarium gift shop in an incident one of the women who runs the camp claims was racially motivated.
Attiyya Barrett, who helps runs a program called Princess to Queenz, told News 4 New York seven girls from the program went into the gift shop at Jenkinson’s Aquarium, in Point Pleasant Beach, on Friday and were told by an employee that they couldn’t be there without a chaperone.
When the girls came back with a 32-year-old chaperone, the employee allegedly asked them to leave because the chaperone “looked like one of them,” Barrett said.
In a now-viral video taken by Barrett, the employee says she “didn’t think [the person the kids came back with] was a chaperone.”
“They’re not welcome in here,” the employee says on camera.
The girls who were asked to leave the shop ranged in age from 7 to 14, Barrett said.
“THE CONSTRAINT I had to exhibit in front of them leaves a horrible taste in my mouth,” Barrett wrote in a Facebook post. “I had to explain to 40 girls that they are still valuable and that [their] green dollars still spends even if racist folks try to hurt them!”
“She won. TODAY! But FYI our black dollars aren’t welcome in the Jenkinson’s Aquarium Gift Shop!” Barrett added in her post.
Barrett said she and her group left contact information with the aquarium’s manager. Later, the director and marketing director of the aquarium called her and apologized, she said.
Jenkinson’s Pavilion has suspended the employee who asked the girls to leave, pending an investigation, a spokesperson told News 4 in a statement.
"We strive to provide all of our customers with an enjoyable experience and we clearly missed the mark this time," the statement said. "We sincerely apologize to the girls from the camp group for the way they felt upon leaving."