Did Georgia Teacher Play Slave Catcher Game With Students?

Althought the school district denies it, the students say the offensive game was the teacher's idea.

Posted: 01/26/2012 01:25 PM EST

According to several Georgia elementary students, their teacher organized and participated in a game of "tag" where students played as slaves and slave catchers in order to accompany a lesson on slavery.


"She would sit on the bench and the slave catchers would come up to the door and ask did she have any slaves," one student told Atlanta-based Channel 2 news, speaking of the teacher.


The incident occurred at Camp Creek Elementary in Gwinnett County, and while the school district has acknowledged that game occurred, it has denied claims of any teacher involvement.


"The school district looked into concerns regarding four students who participated in a playground activity. The district determined that the activity was student initiated and that allegations regarding the teacher's involvement were unfounded,” the district wrote to Channel 2.

However, when interviewed on camera, the students involved stated firmly that the teacher was, in fact, involved in the game, and explained to the students that they were to act as slaves and slave catchers.


“It is demeaning, dehumanizing and hurtful,” said Charvia Rivers, parent of two Black children involved in the game.


Earlier this month, another teacher in the same school district came under fire after he used slavery references to teach math concepts.


According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, one of the problems on a math homework assignment read, “If Frederick (Douglass) got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in one week?”


The teacher, Luis Rivera, said he thought the questions were in line with the school’s curriculum plan, which asked teachers to show students what Douglass had to overcome.


“I did not write those questions with the intent of being malicious or offensive,” Rivera said in a statement, according to the paper. “I wrote poorly written questions in an attempt to enhance student achievement. I have brought shame to my family, and my school. For that, I cannot apologize enough.”


In October 2010, the county's school system was awarded the $1 million Broad Prize for Urban Education, an annual award given by the Broad Foundation to urban districts that show gains in student performance and closing minority achievement gaps.

How do you think slavery should be taught in schools?


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(Photo: Courtesy of Channel 2)