By Ted Land (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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11:22 PM EST, January 22, 2013
The lesson was supposed to be about equality and respect, but an Elkhart mom says it was the method -- the way her daughter's school tried to teach those values -- that she found offensive.
“My reaction was like ‘are you kidding me?’ I was really mad because I did not know about it,” said Risa Howard, whose second-grade daughter Alonna took part in an exercise at Concord South Side Elementary School, meant to teach kids about segregation the Friday before Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
According to Superintendent Wayne Stubbs, the teacher divided the class in half and gave one group a certain color stamp or sticker on their hand. The other half received a different color.
Then for the next few hours, the teacher treated one group better than the other.
“Differences typically would include where you sit in the room, when you get to eat lunch, where you would stand in line,” said Stubbs.
Howard said the experience brought her daughter to tears.
“She said she was treated like crap all day in school by her teacher,” she said.
The school district says the experience teaches kids what it's like to be discriminated against, and more importantly, how to avoid that behavior, but Howard sees it differently.
“What they ended up doing was teaching the kids it was ok to bully and taught them how to do it, and taught them how to be racist,” she said.
“We’re willing to sit down and hear the concerns that they have and if we need to adjust some things, we’ll adjust some things,” said Stubbs, Tuesday.
Over 12 years of teaching the lesson, Stubbs said, this is the first complaint the district has received about the exercise.
The district is conducting an internal review to see how Alanna's teacher handled the lesson but at this point, Stubbs said, there are no immediate plans to cancel the lesson from future classes.
Copyright © 2013, WSBT-TV