School officials at a Gahanna, Ohio, elementary school have issued an apology to a black 5th grader and his mother after the boy was made a “slave” as part of a Social Studies lesson.
The principal of Chapelfield Elementary School, Scott Schmidt, placed a call to the home of Aneka Burton, saying he was sorry that her son, Nikko, was forced to play a slave. He added, “I will definitely make sure it doesn’t happen again. It was never our intent to cause harm,” reports the Columbus Dispatch.
Burton reportedly said Nikko “felt degraded” after the classroom session.
In an interview with reporters, Nikko said that during a lesson on slavery his teachers divided the class into two groups, “masters” and “slaves.” Nikko was put in the “slave” role via a random drawing. The only other black student in the class wound up a “master.”
Nikko added, “At first, I didn’t care. But after people were bidding on people, it kind of made me a little mad and stuff.”
Burton claimed the “masters” were told to look at the “slaves'” teeth, and that “whoever was the strongest that’s who they sold first.” She said that while she appreciated the principal calling to apologize, she thinks school officials “should be educated about black history. That was inappropriate.”
A spokeswoman for the school district declined to comment on the incident, simply saying in a statement, “The Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools values diversity and its families.”