A New Jersey elementary school thought it was a good idea to hold a mock slavery auction to teach kids about slavery.
“There was a sale of a black child by white children in the classroom,” Tracey Jarmon-Woods, one of the student’s parents, told CBS New York, “If you’re demoralized—sold on a block in 2017—it may affect you the rest of your life.”
The mock auction was done by a substitute teacher at the Jefferson Elementary School in Maplewood, New Jersey.
When the class’ regular teacher returned and watched footage of the slave auction reenactment, she sent a letter to each student’s parents explaining that she was actively addressing the matter. “While I understand the creative effort, and the impact it had upon the students who viewed this, I used it as a teachable moment to elaborate on the gravity of this part of our history,” she wrote. “I was concerned about the students who viewed and participated in this re-enactment and would like to convey this event to you so we can address the students’ perceptions as a whole.”
A spokesperson for the school district issued a statement saying that it was “not part of the curriculum, not part of the teacher’s assignment, not condoned by the classroom teacher, and not authorized by the district.”