Principal Apologizes For Slavery Lesson Involving Black Students

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison
Slavery
The principal of an elementary school in Washington D.C. has issued letters of apology after Black students were to portray slaves as a part of a class assignment. Photo of Lafayette Elementary School in Washington, D.C. Source: Google Maps

The principal of an elementary school in Washington D.C. has issued letters of apology after Black students were to portray slaves as a part of a class assignment, reported NBC News.

According to reports, fifth graders at Lafayette Elementary School were given a social studies assignment about the Civil War and Reconstruction. As a part of the lesson students were broken down into smaller groups and told to “create a podcast or dramatic reading.”

In one of her letters to parents, Principal Carrie Broquard said during the small groups, “several students of color” were asked by their peers “to play roles that are inappropriate and harmful.”

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“We learned that during group work, a few students of color had been asked by their peers to pay roles that are inappropriate and harmful – a person of color drinking from a segregated water fountain and an enslaved person,” Broquard wrote.

Black students “expressed discomfort in the roles they were asked to play,” Broquard added.

She apologized saying, “We deeply regret that we did not foresee this as a potential challenge in role playing so we could set appropriate parameters to protect students,” 

She added that students “should not have been tasked with acting out or portraying different perspectives of enslavement and war” and “As the leader of the Lafayette school community, I am distressed this happened and saddened our students were hurt.”

This is the second time recently a school has come under fire for asking Black students to play slavery roles during class lessons. In Missouri, a teacher was placed on administrative leave after she gave students an assignment asking them to set a price for a slave.