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Massachusetts teacher who held a ‘mock slave auction’ placed on paid administrative leave

A Massachusetts elementary school teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave after two incidents involving a “mock slave auction” that the school district described as “disproportionately traumatic for students of color.”

Southborough School District Superintendent Gregory Martineau said: I wrote a letter to my parents last week. The incidents occurred in a fifth-grade class in January and April.

During a lesson on the triangular slave trade, the teacher, who was not named, had two black students stand at the front of the class and improvise a “mock slave auction” for students to discuss their physical characteristics.

“Hosting a mock slave auction is unacceptable and contrary to the district’s core values,” Martineau wrote. “Simulations and role-playing are inappropriate when teaching about historical atrocities and trauma, and these teaching methods should not be used.”

In the second incident this year, a teacher used the N-word during a discussion about a book, even though the book itself did not contain the derogatory language, Martineau said.

After the concerned parents met with the teacher, the teacher called the student who complained about the behaviour in front of the whole class.

The teacher was placed on administrative leave early last month and the investigation is ongoing, Martineau said.

“I apologize for the incident that occurred at Southboro Public Schools,” he wrote. “I acknowledge there were failures in this process that further complicated the situation. Ultimately, I am responsible for ensuring that our students are in a safe and supportive learning environment.”

The neighborhood, about 30 minutes west of Boston, is 63 percent white and 3 percent black. District Profile.

Megan Cifuentes, a parent whose son was in that class, He told WBUR She said she found out about the incident when her son told her that the teacher had used “bad words” during class.

“I never thought I’d hear the N-word come out of his mouth,” Cifuentes said. “If you’re going to use that word with a 10- or 11-year-old, you need to have a thorough discussion with them about what it is, why it’s being used, what it means, and some background information.”

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