“If I were a parent of a student in the classroom, I would be (upset). There are proper ways to educate students about the history of this nation — this was not one of them,” Adams added.
Brett Jones, who described himself as a Virginia teacher on Facebook, said the assignment and those who did not find issue with it are both alarming.
Such assignments on formerly common American traditions, including slave auctions, have invited national criticism and social media mockery for several teachers in the past. One Georgia teacher in 2017 got complaints from parents about encouraging children to dress in “period attire” for the Civil War. Another teacher made international headlines for simulating the Underground Railroad as a class project.
Efforts to teach students in seemingly creative ways about some of the darkest periods in American history can negatively impact Black students, Keffrelyn Brown, a professor of cultural studies in education at the University of Texas-Austin, told USA Today.
“Unfortunately, (slavery is) addressed often in ways that are either marginalizing or it’s the only way that Black people ... are brought into the curriculum,” Brown told the publication.
According to Hampton, Purvis Middle School administrators have already addressed the teacher and there will be further discussion with the teacher from administrators at the district level.