A ‘Mock Slave Auction’?

(StraightShooterNews.com) – A fifth-gradе teacher at a Massachusetts elementary school has been placed on paid administrative leave following two separate incidents that the school district described as “disproportionately traumatic for students of color.”

The incidents involved a “mock slave auction” and the inappropriate use of a racial slur during class discussions.

Southborough school district superintendent Gregory Martineau informed parents in a letter that the troubling events occurred in January and April.

In the first instance, during a lesson on the triangle slave trade, the teacher unexpectedly asked two Black students to stand at the front of the classroom while classmates discussed their physical attributes in the context of a simulated slave auction.

“Holding a mock slave auction is unacceptable and violates the District’s core values,” Martineau emphasized in his communication to parents.

He noted that such simulations are inappropriate when teaching about historical traumas and are not sanctioned teaching methods within the district.

In a separate episode, the same teacher uttered the N-word during a class discussion about a book that actually does not contain the slur.

Following complaints from concerned parents, the teacher singled out a student who had raised objections and addressed the issue in front of the entire class.

Martineau has apologized for these incidents, stating, “I apologize for the events that took place in The Public Schools of Southborough.”

He acknowledged shortcomings in the district’s response that may have worsened the situation. “Ultimately, I am responsible for ensuring students are in safe and supportive learning environments,” he added.

The incidents have stirred considerable concern among parents. One parent, Meghan Cifuentes, whose child was present during one of the incidents, expressed her shock to WBUR.

“Never was I expecting the N-word to come out of his mouth,” she said. “If you’re going to use that word with 10 and 11 year-olds, there needs to be a heavy discussion of what the word is, why it was used and what it means — just some background information.”

The ongoing investigation into these incidents continues as the community and school district grapple with the implications of these actions.

The district is located about a half-hour west of Boston and has a demographic of 63% white and 3% black students.

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