Teacher Facing Major Criticism for Slavery Simulation

Whether or not an American is an advocate for Critical Race Theory, forcing children to reenact slavery is beyond the wishes of most.

Rochester school officials are investigating allegations that a white teacher told his class of mostly Black students to pick seeds out of cotton and put on handcuffs during lessons on slavery in a seventh-grade social studies class.

“It made me feel bad to be a Black person,” student Jahmiere O’Neal told news outlets.

The teacher has been put on leave while the school system investigates the allegations. They came to light after an appalled parent posted on Facebook that her daughter was confronted with the cotton-picking lesson Tuesday.

“He made a mockery out of slavery,” the mother, Precious Tross, who also goes by Precious Morris, told news outlets later.

“I don’t have a problem with you teaching our kids about slavery and what our ancestors went through and how they had to pick cotton,” she said. “Our teachers back in the day told us that, but they don’t bring in cotton and make you pick cotton seeds out of cotton.”

School officials haven’t identified the teacher. Teachers union President Adam Urbanski told WXXI-AM that “if someone departs from what they should be doing, they should suffer the consequences, but due process has to be allowed first.”

Tross and Vialma Ramos-O’Neal, who is Jahmiere’s mother, said the teacher let white children refuse to take part in the cotton-picking while not letting kids of color opt out.

“I immediately was like, ‘Oh, I’m not doing that,’” said Morris’ daughter, Ja’Nasia Brown. “And then he was like, ‘Do it. It’s for a good grade.’”

On another occasion, the teacher brought in handcuffs and shackles, according to the students. Tross said that when her daughter balked at putting them on, the teacher threatened to send her to the principal’s office or the school counselor.

The parents are calling for the teacher’s firing and for his teaching license to be revoked.

School Principal Kelly Nicastro told parents in a letter that school leaders “take these allegations very seriously,” and a statement from the school board called them “extremely troubling.”

“In a district of Black and brown students, it is important to be sensitive of the historical framework by which our students are engaging and learning,” board President Cynthia Elliott said. About half the School of the Arts’ students are Black.

4 thoughts on “Teacher Facing Major Criticism for Slavery Simulation

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  1. I could see having students pick seeds out of cotton in a science or economy class, and be followed by how the Eli Whitney’s cotton gin changed things in the South, but to reenact slavery in this way is utterly ridiculous. Sixty years ago, I learned about the horrors of slavery from a book, not a “class play”. I also learned that our Founding Fathers were against slavery from the beginning, and saw it as a necessary evil in order to keep the nation together. Does this teacher plan to reenact those early discussions? What about teaching that the nation had more free states than slave states in 1860? The entire history of our nation must be taught fairly and without bias.

  2. Slavery is part of US history and should be taught as such. If they are going to teach about slavery – they should teach the negative effects for children and young females who have been bought and/or kidnapped or snookered into being “brought to the US” through our open and porous Southern border and sold into sexual slavery here in this country!!! We learn from the past – if we have a lick of sense – we do not need to go on and on about one horrible aspect of the past and act like Americans today are in any way responsible for what happened and then ended – Thank You, Lord – over 150 years ago.!

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