A North Carolina school district has issued an apology after an “unacceptable” assignment instructed fourth-grade students to write tweets and hashtags that people living in the state might have written if Twitter existed during the Civil War, resulting in a wall display of pro-slavery hashtags in the classroom.
“It should be deeply disturbing to anyone,” said Kimberly Morrison-Hansley, a member of the Union County NAACP chapter and former member of the county Board of Education who became the first black woman elected to the board.
A photo of the Twitter wall in a now-deleted post on the Waxhaw Elementary School Facebook page showed hashtags including “Slavery for Life” and a post by a student under the username “@dontStopSlavery” saying “you may not agree with slavery but I do and I’m honest about it,” according to WJZY.
Another post by “Confederate4life” reads “why do we need to leave the county. We can stay and our slaves! #SLAVERYFOREVER.”
Morrison-Hansley told the Charlotte Observer the assignment was inappropriate for such young children and said the Twitter wall’s lack of context made it appear that the students were posting racist comments, not sharing what they thought people might have tweeted during the Civil War.
“District administrators are taking this matter very seriously and met with the entire Waxhaw Elementary staff,” Union County Schools reportedly said in a statement.
The school system “is actively developing training sessions for all employees to address diversity, equity and inclusion. We are committed to working with teachers to discuss best practices for instruction.”
However, Morrison-Hanley told the paper she is not satisfied with the apology, instead calling for the superintendent and members of the board of education to face the public on Youtube and apologize.
She said claiming to address diversity, equity and inclusion is “code word for racism” and said that she told a Union County Diversity Committee during its first meeting that those issues “did not bring us here tonight. Issues of racism are what brought us here and that need to be addressed.”