Imagine paying $14k a year to have your child placed in chains.
Imagine working hard to take your black child out of under-performing public schools and place them in a private school setting for a higher quality education, only to be stung with the realization that this may ultimately have done them far more harm than good?
This is the dilemma facing the parents of black children who attended The Chapel School in Bronxville, New York after reports of a March mock slave auction that had a teacher at the school place black students in fake chains while white students bid on them. This is what a fifth-grade teacher believed amounts to proper education, a reenactment of the humiliation and objectification of black life,
A state investigator with the New York State Attorney General’s Office said the March incident “had a profoundly negative effect” on the children.
The findings were and conclusions were announced on Wednesday. The school has agreed to diversify its staff and student body in response. But the school is already considered extremely diverse, with 43 percent of the student body being minorities.
How many staff and students of color have to be hired before spontaneous acts of racial ignorance evaporate into thin air? One can only guess.
The school has also agreed to hire a chief diversity officer approved by Attorney General Letitia James as part of the deal.
“Every young person — regardless of race — deserves the chance to attend school free of harassment, bias, and discrimination,” James said in a statement. “Lessons designed to separate children on the basis of race have no place in New York classrooms, or in classrooms throughout this country. I thank The Chapel School for agreeing to take measures that directly address the issues of race, diversity, and inclusion at the school.”
The Attorney General’s office said the teacher in question, obviously and reportedly white, did this in two separate social studies classes.
In each incident, a teacher asked all of the African American students to raise their hands and then instructed them to exit the classroom and stand in the hallway. Then placed imaginary chains or “shackles,” on these students’ necks, wrists and ankles, and had them walk back into the classroom. And that’s when the simulated auction began.
“The investigation found that the teacher’s re-enactments in the two classes had a profoundly negative effect on all of the students present — especially the African American students — and the school community at large,” James said. “Following the re-enactments, the school terminated the teacher’s employment.”
“The investigation found that families had previously made complaints relating to, among other things, unequal discipline of students on the basis of race, a lack of racial sensitivity and awareness in school curricula, and a lack of diversity among the teaching faculty,” James said.