Parents were outraged after they learned that a teacher at a private school held a mock slave auction, giving white students the chance to “buy” their black classmates. The incident took place in a fifth-grade history class on Tuesday, and one of the students was reportedly left traumatized by the experience.
The Chapel School in Bronxville, New York, was where the mock auction took place. According to a report by the Daily Mail, Rebecca Antinozzi was teaching the fifth-grade history class and coordinated the event.
Vernex Harding stated that her son, who is a student at the school and is black, was traumatized by the controversial approach to teaching kids about slavery.
Harding said that her son is one of three African-American students who were selected to play the role of slaves during the mock auction.
Harding stated that her son informed her regarding how the incident proceeded, including being led into the hallway and being placed in imaginary chains by the teacher, including neck, wrist, and ankle shackles.
The students then returned to the classroom where white classmates were encouraged to bid on them.
Chapel School Principal Michael Schultz sent an email to parents on Tuesday night, describing the lesson as “racially insensitive and hurtful.”
Antinozzi has been removed from the classroom, and an internal investigation is being conducted.
On Thursday, school administrators held an emergency meeting to speak with parents about the lesson.
Antinozzi has been teaching social studies to third through fifth-grade students for the past four years. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University, majoring in child studies, and a master’s degree from Fordham University, majoring in elementary and special education.
Chapel School has a student body between 320 and 340, covering preschool through eighth grade. Tuition at the private school ranges from $5,000 to $13,900 a year.