Outrage after students assigned to pick cotton

A mother in Washington is one of a handful upset that their child was told to pick cotton as a class activity.

Redmond Middle School students were handed cotton plants last Friday and told to pick it “to see what it was like to be a slave.”

Carolyn Walker, a mother of one of the students, told KIRO7 on Wednesday, “My daughter is African American and for her to pick cotton when her grandparents were raised on a plantation to pick cotton, is not OK, it’s not OK at all.”

When Walker’s daughter refused the assignment, she says she received an “F.” She plans to meet with the principal to discuss abolishing the assignment.

The Lake Washington School District released a statement saying, “”Specifically, it is about the impact that the invention of the cotton gin had on the Industrial Revolution.”

The section of the textbook the students were reading last Friday was about the invention of the cotton gin and slavery.

Sharon Parthemer, the District’s public relations coordinator, said, “’As a district, we value the diversity of our students and families. We expect teachers to provide instruction in ways that are culturally sensitive. It is very important to us to hear from students or families who have experienced a lesson they feel does not meet that ideal so that we can address the issues.’”


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