Schools have unfortunately become breeding grounds for racially-charged incidents as of late, mainly due to the ongoing debate surrounding Critical Race Theory.
The latest example of that happened in San Francisco last month when an eighth grade teacher at Creative Arts Charter School was allegedly suspended after missing five weeks of school following pushback on a lesson about slavery that involved cotton plants.
According to The San Francisco Chronicle, the unnamed social studies teacher brought cotton plants, also called bolls, to class on March 3 in order for students to see how sharp the plant’s edges are and understand how it resulted in severe finger cuts for those forced to pick cotton during slavery. Although the intent was to create a discussion around the cotton gin and its impact on the Industrial Revolution, within 24 hours an investigation was in place by the school’s leadership based on complaints that described the lesson as “inappropriate simulation of slavery.”
More details below, via SFC:
“On March 4, the school’s director apologized in a letter to families for the ‘unacceptable, harmful’ and ‘inappropriate’ teaching that did not reflect the school’s ‘anti-racist, progressive-minded curriculum.’
The teacher was not at the school for five weeks after the controversial class. The school declined to confirm whether or how she was placed on leave or disciplined during the investigation, but parents attributed her absence to disciplinary action. When the teacher returned on April 15, she issued a written apology to families.”
For a school with 435 students, 219 of them being white, we can see how this lesson would make any of the only 47 Black students feel even a little uncomfortable. One parent of Black and Jewish descent felt offended for her biracial son, who she says by having raw cotton placed in his hands could “evoke so many deeply hurtful things about this country,” going on to add, “There are people who think this lesson plan promotes empathy; I’ve heard that and understand that. There are a lot of people who don’t understand why it’s hurtful or offensive.”
Another parent proved that to be true by describing what the teacher has endured as “unbearably cruel,” especially being that her child considers the teacher to be one of his three favorite people in the world. “I think it’s insane they would treat a teacher like this and basically discard a teacher that has been so inspiring and dedicated,” the parent said, going to add, “It feels like it was a lesson in sensitivity and empathy. That’s why my mind is so blown and I can’t stop being angry about it.”
Which side of the argument do you find to be valid: did the teacher deserve the alleged 5-week suspension or was a valuable lesson taken out of context? Sound off!
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