Really? Is the School Board going to cleanse American history by banning discussion of slavery? Are they also going to cleanse world history of the Holocaust, and the massacre of Armenians? I sincerely hope some kids were upset. I’d like all of them to have been “upset.” The whole class should have been “upset,” not just "students of color." The whole point of teaching through play acting is to arouse empathy and by so doing, develop awareness.

As to the local chapter of the NAACP’s objection? Their objection is inexplicable unless, of course, the purpose of that organization has changed from raising awareness of racism in society to the vain hope that concealment of evil eradicates it.

The decision this current School Board makes on this issue, and the vote each member casts on this issue, will reveal with some accuracy just exactly in whose hands the city has placed the education of its children. To that point, please think carefully about the choices you make when voting in March.

Enid K. Reiman

Rutland

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(1) comment

Heather Juliussen-Stevenson

The problem isn't that students were learning about slavery. It was that the lesson involved reenacting the sale of enslaved people, with students (even students of color) being asked to role play the people who sold enslaved people. Can you imagine how traumatic it would be to role play the person who sold, raped, whipped and lynched your ancestors? Role-playing is used in teaching because it's very effective - we identy with the person we're playing, with the imitation of actions firing off neurons similar to the ones that fire off when we do something out of our volition. To some degree, we become the person we're pretending to be. So why are we asking young people to identify with the owners of enslaved people? Do we really want them to identify with the owners of enslaved people? What lesson are they learning from that? How to be less empathetic and more racist? There have been many high profile news stories around the country about teachers being censured for similar lesson plans. I'm surprised that the school could have unintentionally made such a mistake.

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