Coffee Rhetoric: Charlton Massachusetts
Showing posts with label Charlton Massachusetts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Charlton Massachusetts. Show all posts

September 22, 2013

Nature's Classroom: Reenacting Slavery as a Learning Tool?

Exploring How One Massachusetts Program Misses the Mark

Picture being a parent, signing off on a permission slip enabling your child access to what you think will be an once-in-a-lifetime educational experience that’ll enhance what they're already learning at school. Now imagine, later, discovering that the ‘experience’ you permitted your son or daughter to participate in included them being chased at night, through the woods, while being assailed with racial epithets and insults during a slavery reenactment. Definitely not the type of educational team building any parent would knowingly sign off on without some trepidation, I'm sure.

Apparently, one Hartford school decided to treat its middle-school students to a history lesson many of them wouldn't forget. Last fall seventh graders from the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy attended a 4-day outing at an environmental education facility called Nature’s Classroom; which boasts thirteen sites in New York and New England and promises that students will come away from their experience having developed a “sense of community, confidence in themselves, and an appreciation for others that will carry over to the school community.” However, that’s not the warm feeling some left the program with after participating in an Underground Railroad slavery vignette which allegedly included: pretending to be up for sale at a slave auction, pretending to be on a slave ship, cotton picking, and the like.  

And since James and Sandra Baker (of Farmington, CT) seem like the type of parents who would never knowingly agree to have their child subjected to that kind of mental mind fuck exercise, they removed her from the school and filed a human rights complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and with the Department of Education (on behalf of their daughter) against the Hartford school system, after learning the details of the trip.