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DC School Apologizes after Assigning Students to Portray Slaves

A D.C. Public Schools teacher is on leave after assigning her 5th grade students to “set your price for a slave.”

In a letter sent to families of students at Lafayette Elementary School, Principal Carrie Broquard said the students should not have been tasked with acting out or portraying different perspectives of enslavement and war.”

“At Lafayette, we believe in the importance of teaching painful history with sensitivity and social awareness,” Broquard wrote in a Dec. 23 letter. “Unfortunately, we fell short of those values in a recent 5th grade lesson.”

The students, who had started the lesson by reading an article, “A Nation Divided,” had in recent weeks been studying the Civil War and Reconstruction, Broquard said.

To help bolster their lesson, the teaching team had students either put on a dramatic reading, create a living picture or create a podcast in small groups, according to a separate letter addressed to the students’ families.

The school has issued an apology, calling the assignment a mistake.

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