Teacher Asks Students to ‘Have Fun’ Writing a Song About Slavery

The teacher was not disciplined for making fun of Frederick Douglass.

Frederick Douglass (February 1818 — February 20, 1895) was an African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writings.

The Mount Hebron High School (a predominantly white one, we should note) teacher, whose name was not released, decided that his story deserved to be turned into an enjoyable song, and encouraged the students to “have fun” writing a song about slaves that would “entertain us all”.

Shortly after the teacher was put on 4 days’ leave, her actions were deemed by Howard County Superintendent as ‘outrageous’, and her behavior — ‘inexperienced’. Principal Andrew Cockley said the activity was culturally insensitive.

“I think this was just a teacher who had a blind spot, and from my investigation, was well intentioned in the lesson,” former school board member Larry Walker told WJZ-TV.

The Root reports: President of the African American Community Roundtable Larry Walker said that he thinks the incident “reflects a culture of insensitivity that is prevalent in our country, not just Howard County.”

“That’s a huge frustration for those of us who are trying to console the students who are victims of these social media posts because leadership didn’t do the right thing and address this systemically,” Walker added. “It takes the leadership standing up to the community, saying this is not tolerable.”

Originally published at blacktolive.org.