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Posted by on Apr. 12, 2011 at 9:59 AM
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Va. teacher holds mock slave auction

Trying to bring a Civil War history lesson to life, teacher Jessica Boyle turned her fourth grade Norfolk classroom into a slave auction: She ordered black and mixed race students to one side of the classroom. Then, the white students took turns buying them.

Parent complaints began rolling in shortly after the April 1 lesson, and the principal at Sewells Point Elementary School, Mary B. Wrushen, wrote to parents last week that Boyle had gone too far.

“The lesson could have been thought through more carefully, as to not offend her students or put them in an uncomfortable situation,” Wrushen wrote.

Lessons on the Civil War have long been among the most sensitive topics in Virginia classrooms, many located near the grounds of the Confederacy’s bloodiest battles. And the role that slavery played in the conflict’s origins has been particularly controversial.

Boyle’s attempt to drive home the connection between slavery and war took place in an elementary school named for one of Virginia’s earliest Civil War skirmishes, the Battle of Sewells Point, which was fought within sight of campus grounds, near the mouth of Hampton Roads. Boyle taught her lesson less than two weeks before the 150th anniversary of the conflict.

“She had not conducted a mock slave auction in class before,” Norfolk public schools spokeswoman Elizabeth Thiel Mather wrote in a statement. She added that “appropriate personnel action is being taken” but would not discuss the details.

Boyle has been teaching in Norfolk for six years.

Sewells Point’s fourth grade class is about 40 percent black and 40 percent white.

Calls made to Boyle through the school’s communications department were not returned.

Last month, an Ohio television station reported that a teacher at an elementary school near Columbus divided a fourth grade class into slaves and masters.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/va-teacher-holds-mock-slave-auction/2011/04/11/AFxZnsLD_story.html

by on Apr. 12, 2011 at 9:59 AM
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Replies (1-7):
mom2maryjoseph
by on Apr. 12, 2011 at 11:24 AM

I believe she went way to far in teaching that lesson.  There are better ways to teach the civil war and things that caused it to happen.

leomommy1325
by on Apr. 12, 2011 at 12:11 PM

The Virginia and Ohio teachers went way too far.  They have to understand that slavery is a very sensitive topic especially in the South and especially within weeks of a 150th anniversary of one of the bloodiest battles during that time period.  There are better ways to go about driving your message about the Civil War and slavery home in a more sensitive way without stageing a slave auction.

ikesmommy
by on Apr. 12, 2011 at 3:27 PM


Quoting leomommy1325:

The Virginia and Ohio teachers went way too far.  They have to understand that slavery is a very sensitive topic especially in the South and especially within weeks of a 150th anniversary of one of the bloodiest battles during that time period.  There are better ways to go about driving your message about the Civil War and slavery home in a more sensitive way without stageing a slave auction.

Especially for children so young and the way she divided the students (blacks/mixed were the slaves and whites were the buyers/sellers).

Angie8104
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 10:25 PM

Wow! My son is mixed race and I am absolutely terrified of having him go thru something like that. Esp at such a young age! Apparently this woman has no kids of her own to put these young kids thru something like that. I really hope that this school sees the wrong in her actions and disciplines her to the fullest!!

leomommy1325
by on Apr. 14, 2011 at 8:13 PM

Me too.  I want to see these teachers punished.  My daughter goes to school with some African American and mixed race students and I'm sure she's made friends with these kids at the Catholic (although other religions are accepted) school she goes to.  I'd be terrified for my daughter learning this lesson, but also for her friends.  That's horrible to learn about this time period in such an awful and insensitive way.

Quoting Angie8104:

Wow! My son is mixed race and I am absolutely terrified of having him go thru something like that. Esp at such a young age! Apparently this woman has no kids of her own to put these young kids thru something like that. I really hope that this school sees the wrong in her actions and disciplines her to the fullest!!


leomommy1325
by on Apr. 14, 2011 at 8:16 PM

That is what I was trying to say.  That was just wrong to have African-American and mixed race student being "bought" by the white students.

Quoting ikesmommy:

 

Quoting leomommy1325:

The Virginia and Ohio teachers went way too far.  They have to understand that slavery is a very sensitive topic especially in the South and especially within weeks of a 150th anniversary of one of the bloodiest battles during that time period.  There are better ways to go about driving your message about the Civil War and slavery home in a more sensitive way without stageing a slave auction.

Especially for children so young and the way she divided the students (blacks/mixed were the slaves and whites were the buyers/sellers).


newmommy2005
by New Member on Apr. 16, 2011 at 1:48 AM

There are many other creative ways to discuss the lesson. That is just horrible in my opinion. I have many teacher friends and I can not imagine...

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