A white teacher has caused outrage at an elementary school in Connecticut for casting Black children as slaves and white children as slave owners in a school play. Dr. Carmen Parker’s 10-year-old daughter, who is a fifth-grader at the West Woods School, told her about the incident. The child was instructed to be “Enslaved African 2” in a play entitled “A Triangle of Trade.” Now, Parker has spoken out and is demanding that the school be held accountable, outside of the teacher, who has been put on administrative leave.
According to the New Haven Independent, the Hamden Board of Education’s Equity Committee on Tuesday, Parker said, “Teachers are not the scapegoat for a system that is clearly broken and has been suppressing minority voices and the voices of those with disabilities. I would like to support [the teacher] to learn how to make a better community for our minority students.” Parker is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale.
The outlet also reports, Parker “gave a list of demands she asked the board implement. She said she wants the district to hold the administrators who dismissed her concerns accountable, especially Principal Dan Levy. The district must find a way to support the teacher, she said. It must also create a system for reporting and quickly responding to incidents, she said.”
The school’s student body is about 60 percent students of color, while the teachers are 90 percent white.
Principal Daniel M. Levy said in a statement on the school district's site, “It should be noted that Hamden Public Schools has placed significant emphasis in recent years on increasing the diversity of our curricular materials. We have also begun a major initiative to help staff and students develop a greater understanding of issues related to cultural sensitivity and equity. The Board of Education has created an Equity Committee to oversee these efforts and keep the community involved and informed.”
No word if any of Dr. Carmen Paker’s demands will be addressed.