Updated as of 3/15/2022 at 3:30 p.m. ET
A North Carolina school superintendent has responded to parents’ concerns after a biracial student shared he was sold in a ‘mock slave auction’ at school, reported ABC News. A coalition of local groups demanded disciplinary policies in the student code of conduct will be revisited and revised regarding racist incidents like these.
“Actions such as these, they just do not reflect who we are as a school system. And I say, unapologetically, will not be tolerated in the school system,” said Chatham County Schools Superintendent Anthony Jackson via ABC News.
From ABC News:
The school board adopted some policy changes and will also review the student code of conduct and discipline policies involving acts of racism, Jackson said. Some parents complained that several students involved were given just a one-day suspension.
Jackson directed the board to authorize a list of new regulations, to direct staff to “begin a full top-to-bottom review of our student code of conduct” and to authorize a district-wide training protocol, including establishing channels of communication with parents and local community organizations.
A coalition of groups called on the school board Monday to address the situation and make engaging in racist behaviors a “fireable offense” for employees, reported ABC. They were also displeased the students involved were only given a one-day suspension.
To recap, Chatham County parent Ashley Palmer went to Facebook to share that her biracial son had experienced a slave auction. “His frined went for $350 and another student was the Slavemaster because ‘he knew how to handle them,’” read her post. “We even have a video of students harmonizing the N-word.”
Last Tuesday, Chatham County Superintendent Anthony Jackson sent a letter asserting the district had been made aware of a situation “involving students using racially insensitive language and offensive imagery,” according to the News&Observer. The district thanked Palmer for exposing the incident and said they were taking the proper measures to prohibit this from happening again.
Jackson went on to declare that “racist, homophobic or otherwise hateful behavior or speech has no place in the Chatham County School System.” He told families that “those who are acting outside of our expectations will be held accountable.” Parents and the district “must commit to dismantling racism and other negative influences that affect our school community,” according to Jackson.
“The truth is, if children master academics but fail to appreciate the value of inclusivity, respect and diversity, we as adults have fallen short of preparing them for tomorrow,” Jackson wrote.
Palmer wrote another message on social media thanking everyone who had supported her and her son but also noted how this experience highlighted the racism Black people experience day-to-day.
“Racism isn’t always so blatant as the ‘N’ word or holding a mock ‘Slave Auction’ organized by students. It’s the subtle comments like ‘You are so articulate’ or ‘I don’t think of you as a black person,’ or assuming the black person is support staff, or touching a Black woman’s hair without permission,” she wrote.
How many times do we have remind people racism is taught? Black students should learn about slavery without having to relive it.