North Carolina Elementary School Apologizes After Students Made Pro-Slavery Tweets for Civil War-Era Assignment

A North Carolina school district has issued an apology after students at one elementary school created pro-slavery tweets and hashtags for a Civil War-era assignment.

Students at Waxhaw Elementary School were encouraged to adopt personas from the Civil War era, then write mock tweets from the perspectives of the characters.

An image posted to the Facebook page of Waxhaw Elementary School showed images of some of the offensive, pro-slavery mock tweets that were displayed in a classroom wall as something students were “most proud of.” Students included hashtags like  #SlaveryforLife and #SlaveryForever. The post has since been deleted.

In a statement, the school district called the assignment “unacceptable.”

“Union County Public Schools is extremely concerned about the fourth-grade activity that took place at Waxhaw Elementary. This type of assignment is unacceptable, and we apologize for offending parents, staff, students and members of our community.”

The assignment came after Black History Month, when fourth grade students at Waxhaw were instructed to come up with tweets from the perspective of a historical figure. According to the Facebook post, students had been studying “North Carolinians that had different roles and perspectives on the Civil War.”

One student wrote on paper the handle “@dontStopSlavery” and said, “you may not agree with slavery but I do and I’m honest about it. #Slaveryforlife” Another student chose the name “Confederate4life” and wrote, “why do we need to leave the county. We can stay and our slaves! #SLAVERYFOREVER.”

Students at Waxhaw Elementary School were encouraged to adopt personas from the Civil War era and write tweets from the perspectives of the characters. (Photo: Waxhaw Elementary School/ Facebook)

Kimberly Morrison-Hansley with the Union County NAACP spoke to Fox 46 about the assignment. “This is a slap in the face,” she said.

“The district has to take this very seriously. Someone needs to say something. And most of all, it needs to be an apology. And assure us it won’t happen again.”

Just last year, a Union County school board member resigned after making racist posts online. In response to allegations of racism, the district formed a diversity advisory committee, which Morrison-Hansley is a part of.

UCPS spokesperson Tahira Stalberte said the assignment was intended to “help students analyze events from the Pre-Colonial period to Reconstruction through the perspective of a key historical figure.”

None of the tweets featured in the image of the classroom display was an anti-slavery tweet. Fox 46 reached out to the school to clarify which historical figures the tweets were supposed to represent but did not receive an answer.

Parents in Union County have have written letters expressing their outrage over the assignment.

“You have these kids walking by this every single day,” parent Brittany Buford said. She added that she is “not surprised that racism and institutional racism continues to rear its ugly head in that community. There’s nothing else to call it. There’s no second side to this coin. Racism is racism.”

In an open letter WCNC Charlotte received, one parent criticized the school for not listening to all the voices that represent the community.

“Put into practice listening to and raising up marginalized communities by bringing them to the table. Only once you put that into practice will you see results where it counts – raising up and supporting all of your students, parents, and this community,” the parent wrote.

“You have not brought any community members to the table that represent my community. Choosing people who ideals align to yours and your comfort…will lead us back here every time.”

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