Teacher suspended for telling students to pick cotton during slavery lesson

In a letter sent Thursday to families of seventh-graders at the school, Kelly Nicastro, the school’s principal, said a substitute teacher...


In a letter sent Thursday to families of seventh-graders at the school, Kelly Nicastro, the school’s principal, said a substitute teacher had been assigned to Mr Rausch’s class. Ms Nicastro added that the school could interview pupils as part of its investigation and that counselors would be available for those who needed help.

Rochester schools have faced disturbing allegations of racism in the past. last November, a video of a white student in Pittsford, a suburb, holding an air gun and threatening to kill black people prompted a number of other parents and students to speak out about their own encounters with racism in the community.

Teachers in schools across the country have been disciplined for racist and discriminatory lesson plans. In Washington, DC, an elementary school librarian was furloughed in December after asking third-grade students to re-enact the Holocausttelling them to dig mass graves and mimic shootings.

Mike Johnson, director of Save Rochester, a community organization aimed at alleviating poverty in the area, said he was an alumnus of the School of the Arts and was shocked when he saw the Facebook post of Mrs. Tross Morris last week. He and other members of the community are now calling on Mr. Rausch to resign or be fired.

“I never thought a teacher would inflict this kind of damage on students in their classrooms,” Mr Johnson said.

The reports were particularly painful, he added, given that the community was still healing from the death in 2020 of Daniel Prudea black man, after Rochester police officers covered his face with a mesh balaclava and buried his head in the ground.

Mr Johnson said he had hoped Rochester residents would become more engaged in tackling racism in the community after this.

“It all seems like a giant leap forward from what we’ve been trying to accomplish,” he said.

Kirsten Noyes contributed to the research. Lola Fadulu contributed report.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Teacher suspended for telling students to pick cotton during slavery lesson
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