A High School in Cerritos, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, is taking flak for the unconventional and controversial way it went about teaching students about the history of slavery. KCAL-9, a local CBS television station, reported that a mother recently complained after getting an email from her son’s teacher explaining the “unique classroom activity.” The “activity,” which was to be a surprise, would entail teachers and staff acting as slave ship captains, while the students would be the slaves. The email further stated that staff would line the kids up, “use masking tape to ‘tie’ their wrists together, make them lay on the ground, and in a dark room have them watch a clip from the film ‘Roots.’”
That is eerily reminiscent of how I spent this past Saturday night…but that’s another story.
The school has decided to dispense with the project due to parental concerns.
One student remarked: “No, you definitely don’t need to pretend to be a slave, but it was another hands-on experiment used to simulate slavery.” Another hands-on slavery simulation?
LaMonica Bryson, a Whitney High School English teacher, also agreed with the decision, saying: “I think there are other ways to teach tolerance and maybe even better ways and best practices to broach these sensitive topics.” There may be even better ways to teach tolerance?! I, for one, would be reluctant to inquire as to what those may be.
Does the school bring in E.L. James to talk to the kids about a different form of bondage and discipline? Perhaps tie them to their chairs, pass out whips and ticklers, and have them watch a clip from the film “Fifty Shades of Grey?”
Here’s hoping the school uses starkly different methods to teach its students about, say, anal sex…or the death penalty.