Teacher placed on leave after ‘mock slave auction’ in class

A fifth-grade teacher in Massachusetts has been placed on paid administrative leave after holding a “mock slave auction” and using racial slurs in the classroom, the district’s superintendent said.

The teacher, who has not been publicly identified, conducted the mock auction in January during a history lesson on the economy of the southern colonies, said Gregory L. Martino said. A letter to parents Dated 29 May.

During the lesson, the teacher “asked two kids sitting at the front of the room to stand up, they were colored,” Mr. Martino said, and the class discussed physical traits, including teeth and strength.

In April, the same teacher read a book to the class that was not included in the core curriculum and used a racial slur that did not appear in the book.

“Running a bogus slave auction is unacceptable,” said Mr. Martino wrote, noting that doing so would violate the school district’s values.

He said he came to know about both the episodes from his parents on April 24.

Parents of students in the class met both the teacher and the principal, he said, without specifying when. The day after the meeting, he noted, “The educator inappropriately called out the student who reported the educator making a racial slur, which is unacceptable.”

Kathleen A. Neary is listed as the principal of the Margaret A. Neary School in Southborough, Mass. Valenti was also placed on paid administrative leave from May 6 to 16, according to the letter.

More than 65 percent of the school’s students are white and less than 2 percent are black. Registration data.

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“Paid administrative leave allows for a thorough and impartial investigation,” Mr. Martino said. “Currently, the district is engaging in due process procedures with the educator who is on leave.”

Ms Valenti could not immediately be reached for comment on Sunday. The Massachusetts Teachers Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday.

Mr. Martino apologized to the parents and said he was ultimately responsible.

“I agree that there were missteps in the process which made the situation more complicated,” he said.

In March, investigators in Massachusetts said they were continuing Criminal charges Against six youths who participated in a “racist online chat” that included a “fake slave auction”.

In 2022, a North Carolina school board said it would review its student code of conduct and discipline policies after white middle school students pretended to sell their black classmates at a school. A similar fake auction.

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