OPINION: Bad Lesson? School Apologizes For Making Black Students Slaves

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An Ohio school district is in hot water after the mother of a black fifth-grader said her son was assigned to play a slave for a social studies lesson.

Aneka Burton told a Columbus, Ohio, television station that in her 10-year-old son Nikko’s social studies lesson, the class was divided into two groups: slaves and masters.

Nikko ended up in the slave group and said the students playing the master role would “look in your mouth and feel your legs and stuff and see if you’re strong,” according to WBNS-10TV.

His mom, understandably, was furious.

“He felt degraded,” she told the television station. “I feel like that was totally inappropriate; it was racist and it was degrading.”

Even worse, the incident was not a one-time thing, according to the school district.

A district spokesperson said that the slave auction was part of a state-required curriculum.
Once the news broke, Chapelfield Elementary School Principal Scott Schmidt called the Burtons to apologize and the school district said officials acted once concern was raised.

“I don’t know how long it’s been going on,” Burton told WBNS-10TV, “but I am just shocked nobody has ever complained about it.”

Nikko, for his part, said he wants an apology from his teacher.

History Lesson

Was the school’s slavery lesson insensitive or educational?

Insensitive, 10-year-olds shouldn’t be divided into slaves and masters.
Educational, we can’t tip toe around America’s race problems.
I don’t know.

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