A Massachusetts school has apologized and added some much-needed context to a racially insensitive photo that appears to show a young black grade-schooler tethered to two white children.
WBZ-TV reports that the photo was taken during a history lesson in a third-grade class at Mitchell Elementary School in Bridgewater on Oct. 13. The lesson showcased outfits worn by Pilgrims in the 17th century. According to school administrators, some of the kids dressed up and joined the adults in costume.
The third-grade teacher later shared a photo of the lesson, showing a white adult and two white children standing up in costume. On the floor in front of them is a black child who seems to be kneeling, with two straps that look like leashes attached to her, and being held by both of the white children.
According to WBZ, the photo sparked angry responses from parents, who voiced their complaints and concerns on social media.
It turns out that the leashes were actually “tethering straps”—devises that Pilgrims used on their toddlers to help teach them how to walk
So basically, the Puritan-ass version of this:
The teacher failed to provide this context when she circulated the photo, though, which is a pretty big oversight considering that it looks like some weird slavery cosplay. What black parent wouldn’t have questions?
School Superintendent Derek Swenson issued an apology to students, staff and parents in the school district.
“We realize without this context added to the photo that was shared by the classroom teacher it could be perceived differently,” Swenson wrote in a statement released Thursday. “It was never the intent of the lesson to demean or degrade any one person or group.”
Read more at CBS Boston.