A Washington mother is outraged after she says her twin daughters were asked to clean cotton for a classroom assignment. Once she brought the issue to the school she says their suggestion was to remove the girls from the classroom. Now the mother wants the school administrator removed from their position according to KXLY. Twin sisters Emzayia and Zyeshauwne Feazell told the news outlet that on May 3, the social studies teacher at Sacajawea Middle School told students they would be doing a “fun activity.” Then the teacher brought out a box of cotton told the class they had to clean it as part of an assignment to see who could complete the task the fastest.
The 14-year-old said she was “hurt.” Emazayia told the news outlet she was “shock” over the idea that “a teacher would bring a box of cotton into a class and tell them to pick it clean so she could teach us how slaves were back then.” They also said that they were the only Black students in the class at the time and were left confused. The girls immediately told their mother, Brandi Feazell says she was “floored” by what her daughters told her.
“For you to pass out cotton and to my children [and tell them] that essentially, they’re going to pick the cotton clean and it’s a race of who can get it clean first, that was extremely bothersome to me and my children,” Feazell explained. “Under no circumstance … do they need to be taught what it’s like to be a slave or what it’s like to be Black.”
The mother questioned the school about the incident and says the principal assistant Taylor Skidmore, stood by the teacher’s action. Skidmore later suggested that the two teenagers should be “segregated” from the rest of the class. The response frustrated Feazell who said the teacher is still working at the school following the incident. “My kids are being punished when I’m told that the best thing they could do for my kids at that point was to segregate them into a room by themselves away from the white teacher,” she added.
In an initial statement, Spokane Public Schools revealed that they were conducting their own investigation using a third-party investigator. The statement explained they would share the details of their findings. However, in another statement they claimed that “the students were learning about the industrial revolution and the Cotton Gin was discussed.” They added, “We take all complaints very seriously and are committed to investigating them fully. There are conflicting reports to this incident. Once the third party investigation is completed, we look forward to coming back to share the outcomes.”
The news outlet reported the school district has since apologized and offered to put the students on a “safety plan.”
Feazell demands a public apology and disciplinary action taken towards the social studies teacher and all administrators who were aware but failed to take action.
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