Two middle school students in Washington state say they were “humiliated and confused” after a social studies teacher instructed them and other students to clean freshly picked cotton to see who could do it the fastest.
The twins said they were “hurt and shocked” during the lesson and told their mother. Now, the family of twins Emzayia and Zyeshauwne Feazell is seeking the removal of a Sacajawea Middle School administrator who suggested the pair be separated from the rest of the class after their mother spoke up.
“For you to pass out cotton and to my children [and tell them] that essentially, they’re going to pick the cotton clean and it’s a race of who can get it clean first, that was extremely bothersome to me and my children,” said mother Brandi Feazell. “Under no circumstance … do they need to be taught what it’s like to be a slave or what it’s like to be Black.”
Brandi eventually complained to the school and reported the situation, before reportedly being told by principal assistant Taylor Skidmore that the girls should instead be removed from the class.
“[The teacher] is still at work and yet my kids are being punished when I’m told that the best thing they could do for my kids at that point was to segregate them into a room by themselves away from the white teacher,” Brandi said.
A third party investigation into the matter is being conducted, a school spokesperson told ABC News.
“The students were learning about the industrial revolution and the cotton gin was discussed,” a statement from the Spokane Public School district read. “We take all complaints very seriously and are committed to investigating them fully. There are conflicting reports to this incident. Once the third party investigation is completed, we look forward to coming back to share the outcomes.”