On Nov. 18 at Haverstraw Middle School in New York a teacher by the name of Eileen Bernstein and her class were discussing the conditions under which African captives were taken to America in slave ships. To simulate the experience she bound the hands and feet of two students and had them crawl under a desk.
One of the students, Gabrielle Shand, broke into tears when she got home and her mother, Christine Shand, issued a complaint against the teacher to the school and has gotten the local chapter of the NAACP on her side. She’s also considering taking legal action.
The Associated Press reported Friday that the teacher has apologized for the incident and Superintendent Brian Monahan of the North Rockland School District in New York City’s northern suburbs has said, “If a student was upset, then it was a bad idea.”
Neither Bernstein nor Monahan, however, have said that what happened was wrong.
I know it’s very hard being a teacher and that they must constantly struggle with coming up with innovative ways to capture their students’ attention. But, seriously, nothing in my mind would tell me it would be a good idea to tie up my students during a discussion of slavery or anything else.
But what do you think? Was this wrong or is the student’s mother overreacting?
Shout out to Lynielle for asking me to blog about this issue and sending me the AP story. Good lookin’ out!