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Direct Link To This Post Topic: School Trip Turns into Slavery Reenactment
    Posted: Sep 20 2013 at 1:58pm
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Outrageous’: Field trip re-enacts slavery using kids

Posted on: 11:44 am, September 20, 2013, by CNN Wire






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(CNN) – “You’re not a person, you’re property.”

“You’re an animal working in the fields the rest of your life.”

“You don’t have any rights, we own you.”

Not exactly what you’d want yelled at a group of middle-schoolers on an overnight field trip. But those phrases — plus others involving the N-word — are exactly what a class of Connecticut seventh-graders say was shouted at them during a nighttime slavery re-enactment, which the students and their parents were unaware would be a part of the trip.

The “Underground Railroad” activity took place on the third night of the group’s four-day visit to Nature’s Classroom in Charlton, Massachusetts. The role-playing simulation involved a mock slave ship experience, during which children were crammed into a dark room and told to imagine they’d just watched as their father was killed and that they might have to dance to entertain their masters.

That was followed by a plantation lesson in which the students/”slaves” were threatened and berated before being chased through the dark woods as they tried to escape to “Canada.”

Sandra Baker’s daughter was one of the students on the field trip. “These are innocent children who thought they were going to study nature,” she told HLN. “They were tricked or basically coerced into this slavery re-enactment.”

Tuesday night, Baker and her husband brought their complaints before the Hartford Public Schools Board of Education, after she said her concerns were dismissed by the principal at her daughter’s now-former school.

“For nearly a year I have been actively trying to make my concerns known through the policies and procedures available to me,” she told board members. “Although it has been 10 months since my daughter shared what happened on the trip, I still find it outrageous and irresponsible.”

Baker said the children were “intentionally demeaned, verbally abused and emotionally terrorized.” In her testimony, she said the complaint was filed to the board to seek some sort of accountability from school leaders, “including issuing an apology, debriefing all the families affected by the trip (past and present) and reprimanding school leadership for the handling of this situation.”

When contacted by HLN, Hartford Public Schools declined to comment on the matter.Ermm

In a report prepared by the school, the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy, other students said they were told to “Bring those n*****s to the house over there” and that they “did not feel like it was a joke, did not know if the leaders were joking.”

Baker’s daughter, who was 11 at the time, said, “The instructor told me if I were to run they would whip me until I bled on the floor and then either cut my Achilles so I can’t run again or hang me.”

All of which certainly sounds over-the-top for a group of seventh-graders. Yet not every student had a negative experience. In the same report, some of the children said it gave them “more of an awareness of the seriousness of slavery and the fight for freedom” and that it “increased understanding and consideration for others.”

Nature’s Classroom offers the “Underground Railroad” activity to all of its groups. It told the Connecticut State Department of Education that 99% of groups elect to do it. And Baker said Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy students have gone on the field trip for several years and previously participated in the re-enactment.

The Department of Education met with leaders from Nature’s Classroom earlier this year in response to the Bakers’ complaint. They were told the activity’s goal is “to encourage students to think and act in ways that Africans trying to escape slavery thought and acted,” though they also found there were “no clear instructions for staff regarding appropriate or inappropriate language or actions, or caution around possible emotional and/or psychological effects — particularly when students of color participate.”

The program’s director, Dr. John G. Santos, said Nature’s Classroom does not have adequate funding for that type of additional support and relies on the participating schools to prepare their students for the experience and discuss it with them afterward.

But Sandra Baker said she thinks the problem is putting middle-schoolers through any activity that requires an emotional debriefing in the first place. She said it would be terrifying for any children to have strangers screaming at them in the dark and making them run through the woods at night, no matter what the context or color of the children’s skin.

“Children who were not kids of color were terrorized by this, what they’re calling an educational experience. These are children. These are people’s kids. And they did it without consent of the parents.”

And had Baker known about the re-enactment beforehand, she said, “We would never have sent our daughter on this trip.”




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mizzsandra00 View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 20 2013 at 1:59pm
Part of me feel like this is needed so we never forget........
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 20 2013 at 2:00pm
She it's 11 in the 7th grade? Good for her. No comment on the rest.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 20 2013 at 2:18pm
well...ummmm..
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 20 2013 at 2:18pm
So this type of "reenactment" is OK for children? lol. Wow.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 20 2013 at 2:20pm
You need prior consent from parent, it's not okay to take these kinds of liberties with people kids.
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 20 2013 at 2:24pm
Originally posted by mizzsandra00 mizzsandra00 wrote:

Part of me feel like this is needed so we never forget........
I'm inclined to agree. The kids gotta be made aware. That's how quick people be trying to switch the game up. SMH.

I pray that if I ever had a kid/kids, that they would be similar to me and question everything. Cause lil nm83 would've interrogated the teacher, flat out refused then kindly informed them to call my mother with any questions or concerns.

And that's if I were being civilized after some one ruined my damn field trip.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 20 2013 at 2:42pm
Only problem I have with this is the lack of parental consent. This should have been explained thoroughly to both the parents and the kids, and from there the parents could decide if they were okay with this.

I'd actually want my middle school children to see something like this. To me, it's no differeant than watching a play or movie, except the perspective is first person, aimed right at them instead of passive third person.

People are quick to underestimate the emotional maturity of kids, but middle schoolers are anxious to go to haunted houses for halloween, being chased by zombies and serial killers with fake chainsaws for cheap thrills. I honestly don't see a problem with them being put in a historical setting for perspective. Especially if afterwards, they talk about it or write an essay about the experience and the reenactment is put into context through historical accounts/literature. Reminds me of some people wanting to ban books in school with offensive/uncomfortable language and content. I just don't believe in babying kids by refusing to challenge them emotionally and intellectually.

The school def messed up by how they went about doing the field trip. The parents have every right to be upset. They should have the final say over what their children are exposed to. But in general, I'm not mad at a slavery reenactment for children.


Edited by Random Thoughts - Sep 20 2013 at 2:43pm
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 20 2013 at 3:08pm
I cannot believe there is such thing. Not only they terrorize the black kids, but they taught the white kids (if there were any) that racism is ok and cool. "That's what your forefathers did", they probaly told them. A good white kid who is not racist just learned to be a monster.
How come no one was fired? How come this is not all over the internet? If those were Jewish kids going to a camp that reenacts what happened to the Jews at Holocaust, the whole school board and teachers would have been fired, huh?

But they are black, so it's alright
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep 20 2013 at 3:18pm
i wish i would.............callin my child these names.....no sir
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