North Carolina Teacher Resigns After Telling Black Students They Would Be Her ‘Field Slaves’ If Not For the Constitution

Hip-Hop Sunday School

In today’s dose of “All-caps YIKES,” a North Carolina eighth grade teacher has resigned after a “racially insensitive” lesson sparked outrage from parents.

CNN reports that this happened on Constitution Day, Sept. 17, at Winterville Charter Academy. Parents claim that during an English lesson, the teacher asked the Black students in her class to stand up and said that if it weren’t for the U.S. Constitution, they would be her “field slaves.”

Days later, per CNN, the school’s principal sent eighth-grade parents a memo saying that the school accepted the unidentified teacher’s resignation. The memo added that culturally sensitive training would be provided for the former teacher in addition to proactive training for current and future staff members.

Understandably, parents weren’t too happy to learn about how the teacher singled out Black students to make a point that … didn’t really have anything to do with Constitution Day? The federal observance recognizes the Sept. 17, 1787 adoption of the Constitution as it was originally written. Slavery was not abolished until the 13th Amendment was adopted several years later in 1865.

“Clearly, we know that’s not how the history works,” Kanisha Tillman, whose eighth-grader was in the class, told CNN. “But what upset me even more — not only is she teaching history and the Constitution wrong — but the fact that she personalized it and made our students stand up, raise their hand, separate themselves from the rest of the class, and say that they would be working for her in the field as slaves.”

NBC affiliate WITN reports that in addition to the teacher’s lesson, Principal Annastasia Ryan’s memo also mentioned that multiple children in the classroom reportedly used two “racially insensitive words” without “appropriate redirection along with inappropriate response from the teacher.” Due to a growing amount of angry social media posts about the incident, Ryan sent out another memo to all of the school’s parents that addressed what happened.

More from WITN:

“As soon as we were made aware of each incident, we immediately took action. The result was a teacher resignation and the children involved being disciplined in accordance with our Parent and student handbook,” Ryan wrote in part.

“These situations concern us, too. Our school culture is built on one of acceptance, love, and respect to serve all children and their families. The inner workings of our school are surrounded by intentional effort to eliminate implicit and explicit bias.

She also said that another recent situation of a racially insensitive student remark is being investigated.

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