Teacher Illustrates Lesson With Cotton Boll — And All You-Know-What Breaks Loose!
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A teacher at San Francisco’s Creative Arts Charter School wanted her eighth grade students to understand the hardships of slavery.
She was teaching a lesson about the invention of the cotton gin.
So she brought cotton plants to class so the kids could feel the sharp edges — so they could see how difficult it was to pull out the seeds.
Some 24 hours later the teacher was removed from the classroom for five weeks and the school district apologized – alling the lesson unacceptable. They said the teacher violated the school’s anti-racist, progressive curriculum.
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Putting raw cotton in the hands of children re-creates conditions that “evoke so many deeply hurtful things about this country,” the mother of a biracial student told the San Francisco Chronicle.
“There are people who think this lesson plan promotes empathy; I’ve heard that and understand that,” she said. “There are a lot of people who don’t understand why it’s hurtful or offensive.”
Another parent told the newspaper it was unbearably cruel how they treated one of the most beloved teachers at the school.
“I think it’s insane they would treat a teacher like this and basically discard a teacher that has been so inspiring and dedicated,” said the parent. “It feels like it was a lesson in sensitivity and empathy. That’s why my mind is so blown and I can’t stop being angry about it.”
The teacher was allowed to return to the classroom five weeks later — armed with a personal apology.
“Prior to spring break, I taught a tactile lesson involving raw cotton in an effort to get the students to understand the difficulty of manually processing cotton prior to the invention of Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin,” she wrote in the letter obtained by the Chronicle. “While this lesson was sourced from reliable sources, after conferring with the administration and hearing many of the students reflections, I realize that this lesson was not culturally responsive and had the potential to cause harm.
I wonder how many of the aggrieved parents and students actually wear clothing made from cotton? The commercial tells us that cotton is the fabric of our lives — but now it’s apparently racist.
Might want to switch to polyester, America.