‘Students were emboldened to not only commit brazen and overt acts of racism but to retaliate further and continue their aggression’
Black students ‘sold’ in mock slave auction at North Carolina school
A North Carolina school superintendent has issued an apology after Black students were “sold” during a mock “slave auction”.
White middle school students pretended to sell their Black classmates, leading to outrage from parents.
“Actions such as these, they just do not reflect who we are as a school system,” Chatham County Schools Superintendent Anthony Jackson said. “And I say, unapologetically, will not be tolerated in the school system.”
Dr Jackson said that new policies have been adopted by the school board, adding that the student code of conduct will be reviewed, and disciplinary procedures for racist acts will also be examined.
Some parents complained that several of the students involved in the “auction” only received a one-day suspension from school.
Local groups gathered on Monday to call on the school board to take control of the situation at the JS Waters School in Goldston in central North Carolina, and to demand that the agitators apologise.
The group Chatham Organizing For Racial Equity said in a press release that the auction was recorded on video and that staff and faculty were present at the time.
The school includes K-8 classes and has 195 students – 68 per cent of them being white.
“These students were emboldened to not only commit brazen and overt acts of racism but to retaliate further and continue their aggression after serving a perfunctory one-day suspension,” the coalition said.
The coalition wants the penalty for a staff member taking part in a racist act to be more severe, including the possibility of losing their job.
Parent Christy Wagner told the board she had heard about the incident, which took place on the school’s baseball field, from another parent, adding that she had told her biracial son that he shouldn’t have to endure such racist abuse in silence.
“The reality is these acts of racism are not only happening here in Chatham County but across North Carolina and across the country,” she said. “More should be done around addressing racism in schools because no parent should have to stand here after hearing their son was sold in a slave trade at school.”
Dr Jackson’s policy change suggestions received unanimous approval from the board. The new regulations include a plan for accountability when racist incidents occur in the district’s schools, as well as boosting support services for students and training for staff.
Dr Jackson also told the board to direct staff to “begin a full top-to-bottom review of our student code of conduct” and to put in place a new district-wide training protocol, including establishing channels of communication with parents and local community organisations.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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