Imagine sending your Black child to school, paying $14,000 annually to ensure they get quality, private education, only for them to be the subject of a horrific mock “slave auction” where their teacher pretended to shackle them?
This is what happened at the elite The Chapel School in Bronxville back in March – an incident that ultimately prompted the termination of the teacher.
According to The Hill, the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James got complaints and launched an investigation into the private Lutheran school about the slave auction that took place in fifth grade classes as part of a lesson on colonial America.
“Every young person — regardless of race — deserves the chance to attend school free of harassment, bias, and discrimination,” James said in a statement. “Lessons designed to separate children on the basis of race have no place in New York classrooms, or in classrooms throughout this country.”
The teacher reportedly asked all of the Black students in two separate fifth grade classes to raise their hands and go out into the hallway.
“The teacher then placed imaginary chains or ‘shackles,’ on these students’ necks, wrists, and ankles, and had them walk back into the classroom,” the office said in a statement. “The teacher then instructed the African-American students to line up against the wall, and proceeded to conduct a simulated auction of the African-American students in front of the rest of the class.”
Those students were then “sold” to their white schoolmates.
Naturally, the attorney general’s office found that the lessons had a “profoundly negative effect on all the students present – especially the African American students.”
For the last time, you do not have to traumatize children, particularly Black children, to reinforce the horrors of slavery.
Of course, the investigation also uncovered that this was not the first time that parents have complained about racial sensitivity at The Chapel School.
As part of the agreement with the state, the school will now hire a chief diversity officer and a diversity consultant in order to coordinate in development training. The school will also be required to submit a staff diversification proposal in order to increase minority members in the school’s teaching faculty.
The school, which again costs up to $14,000 a year, also promised to look to increase diversity in its student body by committing to new financial aid.