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Virginia Mom Furious After Teacher Defends Decision to Cast Black Students as Slaves In History Skit

A Staunton, Virginia, parent has reached out to the NAACP after finding out her child and other Black students were cast as slaves during a Louisiana Purchase-themed history skit.

Tamika Derozen’s sixth-grade son is a student at Shelburne Middle School. During an exclusive Tuesday, Jan. 24 interview with WHSV, Derozen told reporters that her son and other Black students were cast as slaves picking cotton and digging for coal, while white students were cast as noblemen in the history skit.

Some of the Black students refused to participate and her son wanted to walk out.

“The teacher asked all of the African-American students to come to the front of the classroom,” Derozen says. “He said, ‘Mom, I didn’t know what to do it. I wanted to walk out of the class, but I didn’t want to get in trouble.”

Derozen couldn’t understand why the teacher didn’t just ask for volunteers nor why she “would not have included any student of any race” to participate. So, she went to the school and brought up her concerns to administrators.

“The principal apologized,” she recalls. “She explained to me that she told the teacher, ‘You can’t single out a group of children based on their race.'” Derozen also was told that the teacher used the skit to illustrate a slave rebellion that took place during that time.

But that was not the end of the incident. On Monday, Jan. 23, her son entered the teacher’s class and found an image from the miniseries “Roots” on the projector. The teacher was aware of the criticism her skit received and she attempted to justify her decision to used race as the criteria for her casting.

“She went on to say, ‘Exactly my point. For those of you that I offended, I apologize. But I want you to understand my reason for calling you up as African-Americans is because you better fit the role of a slave,'” Derozen recalls. “She still wanted to make herself right. You can’t right your wrong.”

Derozen has decided not to meet with the teacher after the teacher’s latest statements. Now, she has contacted the NAACP and has urged other parents to come forth.

Staunton City Schools Superintendent Linda Reviea, Ed.D., released a statement commenting on the incident: “I want to emphasize that in no way does Staunton City Schools condone or encourage instruction that deliberately singles out a person or group because of race and subjects them to disparagement or humiliation.”

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