A New Jersey school issued an apology for an assignment that forced fifth graders to design slave auction posters.
Fifth graders at South Mountain Elementary School were told to make various posters promoting a slave auction in an effort to learn about Colonial America, reports CNN.
The school issued an apology for the “culturally insensitive” project and vowed to reconsider it for the upcoming year.
“While it was not our intention, we recognize that the example of a slave auction poster, although historically relevant, was culturally insensitive,” said Dr. John J. Ramos, Sr., the superintendent of the school district, in a statement.
The assignment had students choose a colony, research it and create a poster for a slave auction based on their research. The assignment wanted students to look at “the ugly and foundational role that slavery played in Colonial America.”
Some of the posters had phrases like, “Men: aged from 20-26, strong,” and, “Anne, aged 12 years, a fine house girl.” Students also made wanted posters for runaway slaves.
Some parents were outraged by the posters, calling them insensitive to any black children who might attend the school.
“That’s crazy, and I don’t think they should’ve done that. That’s disrespectful, first of all, to any of the black kids in the school,” said parent Glenn Conover.
One mother said she found the assignment an important way for the children to learn history.
“It’s part of history, of course,” Andrea Espinoza said. “It happened. I think it’s good that they know.
Ramos apologized further for any offense the school might have caused.
“The principal and I have both apologized for any unintended offense caused, and we have removed the posters from display,” he said in his statement.
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