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HomeGeneralMissouri School Fires Catholic Teacher After Controversial Lesson on Slavery

Missouri School Fires Catholic Teacher After Controversial Lesson on Slavery

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A picture of people protesting teaching slavery
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A Missouri school fired a St. Louis Catholic teacher after her lesson on slavery raised concerns. The White teacher reportedly made students uncomfortable through the re-enactment of slavery during a school lesson.

School officials noted that an art lesson for first-grade students was to illustrate the dynamics of slavery. However, the teacher took it up a notch, allegedly telling students that White people are better than Blacks.

Therefore, parents called out the school officials, condemning the controversial lesson. Aveona McLemore, whose son is a student in the class, expressed her shock at the incident. Like other parents, McLemore criticized the lesson and called on school officials to address the situation.

Furthermore, McLemore briefly explained how the class went according to what her child told her. “He stated that two young white children, young white women, were assigned to be slave owners,” she said.

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“A little girl was assigned to be Harriet Tubman, and she crawled under tables,” McLemore added. In addition, she said her son noted that the teacher separated the classroom, blacks on one side and whites on the other.

Also, McLemore claims the teacher instructed her son to give directions to the little girl acting Tubman. “And he gave her directions to go north, south, east, and west, reenacting the Underground Railroad,” she said. 

“(My son) told me from his own mouth, ‘I learned that white people are better than black people,'” McLemore added. “So, as a parent, that crushed me.” Following the outrage from parents, the school administrators released a statement.

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Administrators said there was no malicious intent in the teacher’s controversial lesson on slavery. However,  they believe the assignment was inappropriate and potentially traumatizing. Also, the Archdiocese of St. Louis sent a letter to parents informing them of the situation.

“The lesson plan the teacher shared with the first-grade students is entirely unacceptable and inappropriate for students that age, and we won’t tolerate such,” Brecht Mulvihill from the Archdiocese of St. Louis said.

Consequently, the St. Ann School Administration and leadership said they would thoroughly review the situation. Also, they dismissed the unidentified teacher following the outrage from parents, noting that the teacher would not return.

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Similarly, a North County Catholic school teacher apologized to parents for a controversial lesson on slavery. The teacher at All Saints Academy at St. Rose reportedly chose Black students to act as slaves during a 3rd grade music class.

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Parents called out to the school for the slavery lesson, and the school invited them to a meeting. They reportedly had a round table talk with the teacher, who apologized for her actions. Furthermore, the school said it would provide teachers with more diversity and inclusion training.

All Saints Academy principal Owen Dabek previously told news outlets that the teacher didn’t focus on racial discrimination. However, following the controversy, he retracted his statement. “This lesson plan was to teach music and history,” he said. 

“However, we heard from parents and now better understand why it was inappropriate and hurtful to them.” Beyond discussing the sensitivity of the lesson, parents also shared their overarching desire for more teacher training. Also, they called for a curriculum that is culturally sensitive and diverse.

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