Open your ears
Hear your student cry his tears.
Open your eyes
See your student how he cries.
What's wrong Teacher?
Are you deaf, dumb?
You get some that crazy rum?
You can't feature
Me as a slave
Me and mine already gave.
No, no teacher
I'm only ten
But still I will not pretend.
You be the slave
I'll be master
Then you will learn much faster.
HOW CAN A TEACHER be so insensitive as to ask a black child to play a slave for a social studies lesson in a simulated slave auction? Apparently a fifth grade teacher in Gahanna, Ohio, doesn't understand why her/his actions would be considered inappropriate or even insensitive. To me, this has the ring of other examples where educators have been blindly or obstinately intolerant. Isn't that the definition of "bigoted?"
'NO HARM INTENDED'
Scott Schmidt, the principal at Chapelfield Elementary, told a local TV station that no harm was intended. How many times have you heard that one? I'm only surprised that officials didn't accuse the child and his mother of being 'too sensitive' or taking the incident 'personally.'
Aneka Burton, the mother of 10-year-old Nikko, says the school should be more sensitive, reports the Associated Press. While the boy's school principal did call to apologize for what happened, Burton said the class exercise was inappropriate and racist. Yes, indeed!
This post is a follow-up to an Ethic Soup article titled "Teacher's Ethics Lesson: Don't Bind Black Students to Teach Slavery."
That story involved another white social studies teacher who bound the hands and feet of two black girls, while discussing slavery to a classroom of 7th-graders. They were discussing the conditions under which African captives were taken to America in slave ships. After binding their feet and hands with duct tape, the teacher had them crawl under a desk to simulate the experience. This happened several years ago at Haverstraw Middle School in the North Rockland School District in New York City's northern suburbs.
HEY TEACHERS -- YOU TRY IT FIRST
Maybe teachers --particularly teachers of social studies -- should be required to perform some role-playing and simulation exercises of their own before receiving their certification to teach children.
Let's start with a slave ship simulation as pictured above right. All the teachers would have to do is lie there, stripped naked of course, and just think about it for a while.
NIKKO'S COURAGE: A LESSON FOR US
And how about the bravery of young Nikko in Ohio! Not many 10-year-old kids have the kind of courage (and support at home) to say "No, I won't do that" to their teacher. Many adults don't have that kind of courage to say "No," even when they know authority figures are wrong.
Maybe Principal Schmidt could ask Nikko's mother, Aneka Burton, to come to school and teach a class to the teachers at Chapelfield Elementary. Just saying...
READ OTHER POSTS ABOUT TEACHERS BELOW:
by Sharon McEachern
CLICK HERE TO READ: "Code of Ethics of Association of American Educators"
CLICK HERE FOR: "History Teacher's Ethics Lesson: Just Say No to KKK Hoods & Robes"
CLICK HERE TO READ: "Autistic 8-year-old Girl Arrested & Jailed for Touching Teachers"
CLICK HERE FOR: "Autistic Kindergartner Alex Barton Voted Out of Class, Now on Honor Roll"
CLICK HERE TO READ:CLICK HERE TO READ: "N.Y. Girl, 12, Handcuffed & Arrested for Doodling on Desk"