Classroom photo from historical lesson stirs controversy

Henrietta Strickland
October 21, 2017

The picture shows a white woman dressed as a pilgrim with her arms around two white children, also dressed as pilgrims, according to The Enterprise in MA.

Administrators at Mitchell Elementary School in Bridgewater say the photo was posted without the full context.

"It seems like enslavement of a person", parent Andrea St. Clare said, according to CBS.

School officials in MA are apologizing after a classroom photo depicted two white third-grade students holding a black classmate with "leading strings", an example of 17th-century clothing that some critics blasted as troubling and out of touch.

A photo of the scene, which was posted on Facebook, was mistaken for a slavery recreation, the Daily Mail reports.

A guest speaker from Plimoth Plantation had students dressed up in garments from the 17th century. According to the school, the picture was taken during an enrichment program about the Pilgrims.

The instructor pictured in the photo, who is the director of education at Plimoth Plantation, should have known better. "Even the color of the child has nothing to do with it", she said.

Rahsaan Hall of the American Civil Liberties Union of MA, characterized the photo as "pretty disturbing", particularly in a school district that isn't diversified, he said.

Among the clothing students learned about that day was a garment that would have been worn by toddlers to learn how to walk, which included tethering straps, Superintendent Derek Swenson said.

"It was never the intent of the lesson to demean or degrade any one person or group", he says."The Bridgewater-Raynham Regional School District sincerely apologizes to the students, staff, and community at large for this unfortunate incident".

"We realize without this context added to the photo that was shared by the classroom teacher it could be perceived differently", Swenson said in the statement issued Thursday.

A questionable photo taken at an elementary school in Bridgewater is stirring up plenty of controversy.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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