Private school teacher fired for holding mock 'slave auctions' with black students
© Getty Images

A teacher at an elite private school in New York has been fired after holding mock “slave auctions” in fifth grade classes, placing African American students in imaginary “shackles,” the New York Attorney General announced Wednesday.

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) said the state had reached an agreement for significant changes at The Chapel School in Bronxville following the March incident.

“Every young person — regardless of race — deserves the chance to attend school free of harassment, bias, and discrimination,” James said in a statement. “Lessons designed to separate children on the basis of race have no place in New York classrooms, or in classrooms throughout this country.”

ADVERTISEMENT

James’s office launched an investigation into the private Lutheran school after receiving complaints about the alleged slave auction that reportedly took place as part of a lesson on colonial America.

The teacher asked all the African American students in two separate fifth grade social studies classes to raise their hands and go into the hallway.

“The teacher then placed imaginary chains or ‘shackles,’ on these students’ necks, wrists, and ankles, and had them walk back into the classroom,” the office said in a statement. “The teacher then instructed the African-American students to line up against the wall, and proceeded to conduct a simulated auction of the African-American students in front of the rest of the class.”

The auctions simulated the African American students being sold like slaves to their white counterparts.

The attorney general’s office investigation reportedly found that the lessons had a “profoundly negative effect on all of the students present — especially the African-American students.”

The teacher has since been fired and the investigation found that there had been several other complaints from parents about a lack of racial sensitivity at the school.

Under the agreement with the state, The Chapel School will hire a chief diversity officer and a diversity consultant to assist in development training.

The school must also develop and submit a staff diversification proposal to increase minority representation among the school’s teaching faculty.

Annual tuition costs up to $14,000 and the school agreed to commit new financial aid to increase diversity within its student body.

It will also submit a new code of conduct to James’s office for addressing racial and ethnic discrimination and harassment and other prohibited behaviors.