North Carolina school system apologises after pupils wrote racist tweets as part of slavery project

Students wrote mock posts from perspective of people who lived in North Carolina during US Civil War

James Crump
Monday 15 March 2021 11:59
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A North Carolina school system has apologised after a collection of racist tweets were displayed in a classroom as part of a Civil War assignment for 4th graders.

Students at Waxhaw Elementary School, part of the Union County Public Schools system, were asked last week to write mock tweets and hashtags from the perspective of people who lived in North Carolina during the US Civil War.

One of the 4th graders wrote a post containing “Slavery Forever,” while another using the handle “@dontStopSlavery” added: “You may not agree with slavery but I do and I’m honest about it. #Slaveryforlif,” according to WJZY.

A separate student writing under the fake username “Confederate4life,” also wrote: “Why do we need to leave the county. We can stay and our slaves! #SLAVERYFOREVER,” as part of the assignment.

The mock tweets came to attention after the school uploaded a now-deleted photo to its Facebook page showing the messages containing racist language displayed on a classroom wall.

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WJZY reported that the school captioned the photo, writing that the messages displayed were the ones that the students were “most proud of” after they “studied North Carolinians that had different roles and perspectives on the Civil War.”

After the post caused outrage among the local community, Union County Public Schools released a statement to parents, students and members of the community for the “unacceptable” assignment.

The school system confirmed that the “Twitter wall” has been removed, and said that “district administrators are taking this matter very seriously and met with the entire Waxhaw Elementary staff today.”

Union County Public Schools added that it “is actively developing training sessions for all employees to address diversity, equity and inclusion. We are committed to working with teachers to discuss best practices for instruction.”

However, Kimberly Morrison-Hansley, a member of the Union County NAACP chapter, told the Charlotte Observer on Saturday that the apology is inadequate and said that the task was not appropriate for students so young, adding that it “should be deeply disturbing to anyone”.

Ms Morrison-Hansley, who was the first Black woman elected to the county Board of Education, said that the superintendent and county board members need to publicly apologise on camera for the assignment.

She also said that the school claiming to tackle diversity, equity and inclusion misses the real problem, adding that those issues “did not bring us here tonight. Issues of racism are what brought us here and that needs to be addressed.”

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