A Virginia elementary school is under fire after one of their Black History Month lessons drew anger from parents.
According to the Loudoun Times-Mirror, third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students in physical education classes at Madison’s Trust Elementary School were asked to run through an obstacle course meant to represent the Underground Railroad.
The students were told to work in groups and pretend to be runaway slaves to get through the course. Obstacles included getting over hurdles and jumping through hula hoops, according to CNN.
At least one African-American child played the part of a slave, NAACP Chapter President Michelle Thomas said:
“Slavery was not a joke. You didn’t get to choose.”
The lesson drew outrage from parents, prompting an apology from the school’s principal who has promised to reteach the lesson in “an appropriate and respectful context.”
Principal David Stewart said in a statement:
“The lesson was culturally insensitive to our students and families … my sincerest apology to our students and school community. This is contradictory to our overall goals of empathy, affirmation and creating a culturally responsive learning environment for all.”
The predominantly white school district gets complaints “every year” around Black History Month, due to other similar lessons. Thomas said:
“Loudoun County has a history of miseducating kids, number one, and perpetrating racist things amongst our students. This is not the first one. This is the first one of many. This is the most egregious, and the timing is incredible.”
She emphasized a need for district staff to go through race and bias training.
Some parents around the country are taking black history education into their own hands, Dearly previously reported.
A North Carolina mom recently celebrated the month by dressing up her daughter as influential black women including, Beyoncé, Michelle Obama, and Anita Hill. The photo project quickly went viral on social media.
What do you think of the school’s controversial lesson? Let us know in the comments.