Sunday, August 31 2014 3:28 PM EDT2014-08-31 19:28:29 GMT
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An Iredell-Statesville School Board member says she had no ill intent behind a Halloween costume she reportedly wore nearly five years ago.
Anna Bonham is the representative for District 7 for Iredell-Statesville Schools.
Before she was elected to the board, Bonham took part in a Halloween party that included her dressing as professional tennis player Serena Williams.
The costume was complete with pink top, short pink skirt, a brown turtleneck, a poofy wig, a tennis racket and brown face paint.
The image has reportedly been on Bonham's Facebook page until this week.
On Wednesday, an article was printed in the Statesville Record & Landmark showing Bonham's Halloween photo. There was an immediate outcry from the general public.
"There was absolutely no ill-intent," Bonham told WBTV on Friday. "I am an avid tennis fan and player (I play several times a week). Serena is my favorite player."
Bonham says she removed the photo from her Facebook page due to "increased media attention."
School board member John Rogers told WBTV he has spoken with Bonham and feels she truly regrets the photo.
"I wouldn't have done it," said Rogers calling the costume a bad choice. "I don't think there is a racist bone in her body," he added.
Rogers says taking the photo public may also be an attempt to discredit Bonham who is running for re-election.
He says the school board race is contentious for one of the state's top school districts.
She was elected to the ISS Board of Education in Fall 2011. Bonham represents District 7 which includes Woodland Heights, Mount Mourne, shares Lake Norman Elementary, Lake Norman High School and Brawley Middle.
She is running against three other candidates in the May 6 primary for District 7.
Rogers says there have already been conversations among school board members about sensitivity and what is appropriate.