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A school in North Carolina school is coming under fire after students there held a mock ‘slave auction’ in which white middle-schoolers pretended to sell their black classmates.

The mock auction happened in the presence of staff and faculty at the J.S. Waters School near Raleigh and was even recorded on video, according to the Chatham Organizing For Racial Equity. 

The tasteless role play was first made public when Ashley Palmer, a mother of a student at the school, posted about it on Facebook, having been told about the incident by her own son, Jeremiah. 

The role play was first made public when Ashley Palmer, a mother of a student at the school, posted about it on Facebook, having been told about the incident by her own son, Jeremiah

The role play was first made public when Ashley Palmer, a mother of a student at the school, posted about it on Facebook, having been told about the incident by her own son, Jeremiah

 The role play was first made public when Ashley Palmer, a mother of a student at the school, posted about it on Facebook, having been told about the incident by her own son, Jeremiah

Palmer quickly took to Facebook where she shared her outrage of what had happened with the 'slave auction'

Palmer quickly took to Facebook where she shared her outrage of what had happened with the 'slave auction'

Palmer quickly took to Facebook where she shared her outrage of what had happened with the ‘slave auction’

‘HUG YOUR BABIES! You never know what they may be going through. To say we have had a rough week is an understatement. Our son experienced a slave auction by his classmates and when he opened up we were made aware that this type of stuff seems to be the norm so much that he didn’t think it was worth sharing. 

‘His friend ‘went for $350’ and another student was the Slavemaster because he ‘knew how to handle them.’ We even have a video of students harmonizing the N word. Since when were children so blatantly racist? Why is this culture acceptable?’ Palmer said. 

‘Parents teach your kids that this behavior isn’t ok. Teach them also that SILENCE IS COMPLICITY! Laughter is even worse! Thankfully Jeremiah is a strong unapologetically black young man and I’m so proud of how tactfully he has handled these repulsive situations. He is stronger than ever and we will continue to do our part to make sure every racist child and faculty member is reported for every blatant act and microagression he experiences!’ Palmer wrote.

Mom, Ashley Palmer is seen with her husband Justin, son Jeremiah and two daughters

Mom, Ashley Palmer is seen with her husband Justin, son Jeremiah and two daughters

Mom, Ashley Palmer is seen with her husband Justin, son Jeremiah and two daughters 

Chatham County Schools’ official Facebook page initially responded that faculty members were looking into the incident.

‘They are taking this very seriously and have taken steps to ensure this won’t happen again,’ the account posted.

A coalition of local groups called on the board to address the situation at the J.S. Waters School in Goldston and require the instigators to apologize. 

The K-8 school about 50 miles southwest of Raleigh has 195 students, and 68% are white.

Palmer made a speech ahead of a special meeting held by the school district on Monday

Palmer made a speech ahead of a special meeting held by the school district on Monday

Palmer made a speech ahead of a special meeting held by the school district on Monday

‘These students were emboldened to not only commit brazen and overt acts of racism but to retaliate further and continue their aggression after serving a perfunctory one-day suspension,’ the coalition said.

The coalition also wants the district to raise the penalties for school employees who engage in racist behaviors, including making it a fireable offense.  

On Monday a full meeting with parents, students and the schools superintendent took place in which he apologized for the ‘slave auction’.

‘I want to offer an apology…to every single student who has ever felt unsafe while in our care, to every student who has ever felt demeaned, disrespected or marginalized because of their race, ethnicity, sex, gender, religion or disability,’ Chatham County Schools Superintendent Anthony Jackson said after parents were outraged. 

Palmer said that she was not happy that students involved were only suspended for one day

Palmer said that she was not happy that students involved were only suspended for one day

Palmer said that she was not happy that students involved were only suspended for one day 

‘Actions such as these, they just do not reflect who we are as a school system. And I say, unapologetically, will not be tolerated in the school system,’ he continued.

‘Those who participate in acts that demean any person are acting outside the values of our school system and will be held accountable using every means at our disposal. As painful as it has been to hear some of these accounts, I want to thank those who exercised the courage to step forward and speak their truth. It is now our responsibility to do the things all students need to be the true beneficiaries of the many wonderful programs and opportunities we have to offer in our school system. 

‘In Chatham County schools, we proudly boast that diversity is our strength, and moving forward it will be our intentional focus to ensure that this celebration includes everyone,’ Jackson said. 

The school board adopted some policy changes and will also review the student code of conduct and discipline policies involving acts of racism, Jackson said.

The J.S. Waters School in North Carolina school is coming under fire after holding a mock 'slave auction' in which white middle-schoolers pretended to sell their black classmates

The J.S. Waters School in North Carolina school is coming under fire after holding a mock 'slave auction' in which white middle-schoolers pretended to sell their black classmates

The J.S. Waters School in North Carolina school is coming under fire after holding a mock ‘slave auction’ in which white middle-schoolers pretended to sell their black classmates

He vowed to take stronger disciplinary actions against students who engage in bigotry and to implement ‘sensitivity training ‘ for all staff in the district.

Some parents complained that several students involved were given just a one-day suspension. 

‘Students received 1 day suspension for the ‘slave auction.’ No action taken yet pertaining to the video. Today at recess the ‘slavemaster’ ‘accidentally’ hit my son with a baseball 4 times upon his return to school,’ Ashley Palmer wrote. 

‘Now he has decided to retaliate by making up things that Jeremiah didn’t say to attempt to get him into trouble. No further action from the school at this point.’ 

On Monday, Palmer spoke before the meeting outside Pittsboro Presbyterian Church in Pittsboro, Chatham County.

‘The acts committed towards our son and other classmates were extremely disturbing, however, not surprising since this isn’t the first time our family has had to deal with racist acts towards one of our children,’ she said according to The News & Observer. 

‘This is not diversity and inclusion. This is not equity. This is racism and deserves to be treated as such. …Racist acts shouldn’t be disciplined on the same level as someone pulling another student’s hair with a one-day suspension. It should have its own designation reportable at the county level and handled with the significant consequences it deserves.’

Another parent, Christy Wagner also made an emotional plea to the board, saying she learned what had happened on the baseball field from another parent and had to explain to her biracial son why he shouldn’t have to suffer such racism in silence.

‘Over the past week, I have experienced every possible emotion there is over the events of nearly two weeks ago,’ she said. ‘Some days I feel guilty and questioned if I’m doing a good job raising my son. I never thought in a million years I’d be standing up here talking about my son experiencing racism in middle school. 

‘The reality is these acts of racism are not only happening here in Chatham County but across North Carolina and across the country,’ said Wagner. ‘More should be done around addressing racism in schools, because no parent should have to stand here after hearing their son was sold in a slave trade at school.’

Some students who attend other schools also spoke out saying they wanted to see change.  

‘I am disappointed and disheartened by the events that happened at the J.S. Waters School,’ said Ashley Perez, a senior at Jordan Matthews High School reports The Daily Beast. ‘As a student of the Chatham County school system, I am ashamed that this event happened in my home county. This event did not follow the motto ‘collectively creating success.’

Evelyn Munoz, another senior, echoed Perez’s sentiments.  

‘Racist behavior in schools has become so ingrained that it’s easy to be blind to it. Our school should be educating us to be respectful and thoughtful, not to be ignorant of the way we may be hurting others,’ Munoz said.

‘Some students are already taught behavior at home. And when nothing is done at school to correct this, it only becomes worse. Instead of shying away, what we need is a space where we can openly speak about race and inform ourselves about what it means in our society. We’re given facts and dates in history, but aren’t shown the everlasting consequences of discrimination in our housing, prison, or education systems. We can’t be prepared to fight racism if we’re not taught about it.’

The school board unanimously approved Superintendent Jackson’s proposed policy changes and regulations as part of a comprehensive plan for accountability for racist incidents in schools, support services for students and training for staff.

Jackson directed the board to authorize a list of new regulations, to direct staff to ‘begin a full top-to-bottom review of our student code of conduct’ and to authorize a district-wide training protocol, including establishing channels of communication with parents and local community organizations. 

Source: Daily Mail

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