Massachusetts teacher suspended after organizing mock slave auction, using racial slur: school authorities

A Massachusetts elementary school teacher has been suspended after a series of incidents in which she conducted a mock slave auction and used a racial slur, according to district and school officials.

Officials have not disclosed the name of the fifth-grade teacher at Margaret A. Neary Elementary School in Southborough, a town located approximately 30 miles west of Boston.

In a recent statement, District Superintendent Gregory Martineau revealed that School Principal Kathleen Valenti was also placed on paid leave from May 6-16.

Martineau first became aware of the incidents in April when parents informed him. The initial incident involved a mock slave auction that took place in January as part of a history lesson on the triangle trade.

According to Martineau, the educator requested two children of color who were seated in the front of the room to stand up. During this activity, the class engaged in a discussion about their physical attributes, such as teeth and strength. Martineau criticized this lesson, deeming it unacceptable and in violation of the District’s core values.

In April, there was a second incident where the teacher used a slur while reading aloud from a book. It was later discovered that the slur did not appear in the book, according to Martineau.

The teacher and Valenti had a meeting with the parents of the students in the class.

Martineau advised parents against the use of such words by employees or students, highlighting their dehumanizing nature. He also expressed his apologies to parents and acknowledged that there were missteps in the process that contributed to the complexity of the situation.

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He stated that his ultimate responsibility lies in ensuring that students are in safe and supportive learning environments.

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