From a young age, we're constantly told about importance of going to school. By getting a solid education, we're taught the ins and outs of math, the cultures, religions and traditions from all around the world, and for one elementary school in New Jersey, what it was like to be involved in a slave auction. Can you spot which one of these aforementioned examples is not like the others?
According to CBS New York, a substitute teacher oversaw the class and filmed some fifth graders at the Jefferson Elementary School in Maplewood, New Jersey as they held a mock slave auction as part of their project on the Triangular Slave Trade. “There was a sale of a black child by white children in the classroom,” Tracey Jarmon-Woods, one of the student's parents, told CBS New York, “If you’re demoralized—sold on a block in 2017—it may affect you the rest of your life.”
When the class' regular teacher returned and watched footage of the slave auction reenactment, she sent a letter to each student's parents explaining that she was actively addressing the matter. "While I understand the creative effort, and the impact it had upon the students who viewed this, I used it as a teachable moment to elaborate on the gravity of this part of our history," she wrote. "I was concerned about the students who viewed and participated in this re-enactment and would like to convey this event to you so we can address the students' perceptions as a whole."
A spokesperson for the South Orange Maplewood school district responded to the incident by making it clear that this, um, activity was "not part of the curriculum, not part of the teacher’s assignment, not condoned by the classroom teacher, and not authorized by the district."