A group of South Carolina parents were outraged after seeing a video of their fifth-grade students picking cotton and singing a “slave song” during school field trip.
During a Rock Hill School District approved trip to a historical schoolhouse called the Carroll School, which is surrounded by cotton fields, the students learned about how the Great Depression effected the African-American community.
In the video, students can be seen picking cotton while singing: "I like it when you pick like that. I like it when you fill your sack. "I like it when you don't talk back. Make money for me."
Also in the video was an adult who drummed a rhythm while another adult yelled, "I can't hear y'all.”
Erica Poplus, whose daughter attended the field trip in September, said her "jaw dropped” when she saw the clip, reported ABC News.
According to Poplus, her 11-year-old daughter and her classmates spent roughly five to 10 minutes picking cotton. While on the trip, the kids were put in competition to see who could fill up their sack with the most cotton, an incentive that was actually used during slavery.
The Rock Hill School District released a statement saying the point of the trip was to be educational and informative.
"As part of the fifth-grade curriculum, students study the Great Depression time period, and this field trip helps students make real-life connections to this era in American history," Mychal Frost, director of marketing and communications for the Rock Hill Schools said in a statement to ABC News.
The Rock Hill School District also called the field trip a "unique learning opportunity."
However, York County Councilman William "Bump" Roddey, whose son went on the field trip last year, said the activities provided on the trip make an inappropriate "game" out of painful Southern history.
"Had I known that the picking cotton would be in conjunction with singing these songs, my wife and I would have probably never entertained him going on this field trip," Roddey told ABC News.
"When you see the video, you hear the songs being sung, you see the kids picking cotton, you can't now separate your mindset that this is a slave reenactment," he added.
Parents said they were asked to sign a permission slip permitting their children to attend the field trip that did mention that students would be picking cotton, but it did not mention any songs or competitions.