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A North Carolina school superintendent has apologized for a “mock slave auction” held at a middle school where students pretended to sell their Black classmates.
“Actions such as these, they just do not reflect who we are as a school system,” Chatham County Schools Superintendent Anthony Jackson said after parents raised an outcry. “And I say, unapologetically, will not be tolerated in the school system.”
The mock slave auction happened in the presence of staff and faculty and was recorded on video, according to a Chatham Organizing for Racial Equity press release.
Jackson said that the school board adopted some policy changes and will also review the student code of conduct and discipline policies involving acts of racism. Some parents complained that several students involved were only given one-day suspensions.
A coalition of local groups, including Chatham County Organizing for Racial Equity (CORE) and local NAACP chapters, called on the school board to address the situation and require the instigators to apologize.
Coalition Recommendations after mock slave auction
The coalition also presented the school board with eight recommendations to support safe and just learning environments.
- Collaborate closely with community equity partners, parents of color, and this coalition for community-led approaches to an equitable school system.
- The students involved need to apologize to their discrimination targets and the school community.
- Child trauma counselors skilled in racial trauma should be available to support all students impacted.
- Review and revise the Chatham County Code of Conduct to designate racist and discriminatory remarks as hate speech separate from the current bullying policy with corresponding consequences that match the severity of this abuse our children face.
- Review and revise the Chatham County Schools Personnel Guidelines to make racist remarks and behaviors a fireable offense for teachers and staff. Racist educators have no place in the classroom.
- Review the administration’s response to this and previous racist incidents at the school to determine the appropriateness of their responses. Consequences have to be sufficient to deter future acts.
- Provide protocol for reporting hate crimes to Federal Authorities when the level of behavior warrants.
- With the guidance of racial equity consultants, develop a harm protocol when racist acts occur to be available and accessible to every school
The K-8 school has about 200 students, and 68% are White. There has not been any announcement of discipline for any staff members that were present for the “mock slave auction.”