Enzo DomingoMar 10, 2017, 8:50 pm

Slavery assignment at South Orange elementary school draws criticism

A project on colonial America resulted in students creating posters referencing runaway slaves and slave auctions

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South Mountain Elementary School in South Orange is fielding some criticism from parents over a 5th-grade school project that resulted in some students creating posters related to slavery.

The project, which centered on colonial America, gave students the choice to write a letter, or create a poster or advertisement relevant to that time.

Some of the posters created by students offered a reward for finding a runaway slave, and slave auction posters were on display in the school hallways, drawing criticisms from parents on Facebook.

"The intention was for students to reflect on what they learned, and show some aspect of it that struck them, and to do it visually," said Suzanne Turner, a representative for the South Orange-Maplewood School District in phone interview.

Turner said that the project had been part of the curriculum for at least 10 years.

The school plans to hold a town hall meeting with parents in order to open up a dialogue about the project, given the reaction to it.

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