A principal of an elementary school in Virginia is now apologizing after students were told during a gym exercise to act like runaway slaves for Black History Month.
Principal David Stewart, of Madison’s Trust Elementary School sent a letter to parents saying, “The lesson was culturally insensitive to our students and families. I extend my sincerest apology to our students and school community.”
According to NBC News, students in third through fifth-grade was told this was a “game” to see which groups would make it through an obstacle course that represented the Underground Railroad. During a board meeting, Michelle Thomas, president of the Loudoun County chapter of the NAACP mentioned that students got to pick whether they wanted to be a slave, sharecropper or landowner.
Thomas said, “Slavery was not a joke. You didn’t get to choose.”
Upset by what happened, retired educator, Linda Deans said, “Having a black male student crawling around on the floor in the dark as he re-enacted a lesson about a runaway slave is an offensive educational strategy.”
The principal wants to make sure that incidents like this never happen again and will be appointing “equity/culturally responsive team.”