Showing Cotton Bolls As Part Of A Lesson On Slavery: OK. Making Black Students PICK Cotton Bolls? Uh, NO. Is This Really A Difficult Line To See?

Apparently so, at least for some members of the teaching profession whose judgment parents are supposed to trust blindly, according to President Biden and others.

Just a few days ago, Ethics Alarms discussed [#3] the vile treatment of a social studies teacher by the San Francisco’s Creative Arts Charter School, which suspended her and forced her to grovel an apology for bringing cotton bolls, into her class as part of a lesson on the cotton gin and its impact on slavery and the Industrial Revolution. Commenter Curmie, a teacher himself, properly condemned the school’s reaction in a post on his own blog, here.

However, a Rochester, NY white middle school teacher told his class of mostly black students to pick seeds out of cotton bolls during his lessons on slavery in a seventh-grade social studies class. In another fun exercise, the same teacher brought in handcuffs and shackles for the black students to put on. White children were allowed to opt out of the cotton-picking, reportedly, while black students were not. When a black child balked at putting on the shackles, the teacher threatened her with punishment.

Now, you see, this is going juuuust a bit too far with the cotton bolls thing. Is that clear to everybody?

“In a district of Black and brown students, it is important to be sensitive of the historical framework by which our students are engaging and learning,” board President Cynthia Elliott said, as administrators apologized to parents and announced an investigation.

That’s interesting. I would have thought that it is important to be sensitive to the historical framework by which students are engaging and learning in any school district regardless of the races or ethnicity of the students involved. But then I don’t have an education degree, so I should trust the experts.

Oddly, I don’t.

This isn’t the first time students were forced to pick cotton in a public school. I highlighted another episode here, almost a year ago. In that instance, the school defended the teacher, and the two white students whose parents objected had to pull them out of the class and the school.

I can’t figure out if teachers are learning or not…

One thought on “Showing Cotton Bolls As Part Of A Lesson On Slavery: OK. Making Black Students PICK Cotton Bolls? Uh, NO. Is This Really A Difficult Line To See?

  1. The line seems pretty obvious to me. The ongoing radicalization of portions of the population indicate many people have difficulty identifying any ethical lines whatsoever, though. This sort of thing is appalling, but not shocking. I’ve become accustomed to K-12 teachers doing appalling things to the vulnerable students they teach. It is disappointing that the standard caliber of teachers makes this seem almost run of the mill.

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