Beautiful Virgin Islands

Monday, Feb 06, 2023

Black parent sues after Los Angeles school project had students pick cotton

Black parent sues after Los Angeles school project had students pick cotton

The lawsuit against LA Unified says Rashunda Pitts’ daughter was humiliated by the lesson that was intended to teach about slavery

Los Angeles Unified, America’s second largest school district, is facing a civil rights lawsuit from a Black parent who says her daughter’s school taught students about slavery by having them pick cotton.

Rashunda Pitts sued the school district and staff members at Laurel Span school in response to the incident that, according to the lawsuit, humiliated her daughter and left the now 14-year-old with extreme emotional distress and anxiety.

The incident occurred in October 2017, according to the lawsuit, when Pitts spotted a cotton field at her daughter’s Hollywood school. She contacted school officials who informed her that her daughter’s class was reading the autobiography of Frederick Douglass and that the field had been planted to give the students “‘real life experience’ of what it was like to be a slave by ‘picking cotton’”, the lawsuit says.

After Pitts shared her concerns that the project was “culturally insensitive”, school officials agreed, according to the suit. School leaders said they would remove the field but that they couldn’t do so within 24 hours as Pitts had requested, and that they would aim to by the end of the week or the following.

But the school misrepresented that conversation in a statement to the press that contradicted what officials told Pitts, the lawsuit alleges, and sought to “cover up the discriminatory conduct”.

“We regret that an instructional activity in the garden at Laurel School was construed as culturally insensitive,” the school said, adding that “tending to the garden” with fruits and vegetables had been a longtime tradition and was not used for historical reenactments. “When school administrators became aware of a parent’s concern about the cotton plant, they responded immediately by removing the plant.”

Pitts’ daughter, who she says had become “quiet and reserved” in the weeks leading up to the incident, said she was afraid to tell her mother about the project because she feared her teachers would become upset and possibly “retaliate”, according to the suit.

Her teacher did not require her to pick cotton, she told her mother, but she watched other students do so and “discussion of the project in school terrified her and she [was] horrified at the idea of having to ‘pick cotton’”. The school failed to ask parents for permission for the project, the suit says, or inform them.

Pitts alleges the project, and the school’s response, amount to discrimination against her daughter on the basis of her race and sex. “She has uncontrollable anxiety attacks and has [experienced] bouts of depression when she thinks about the Cotton Picking Project,” the lawsuit states.

Neither Pitts’ attorney nor Los Angeles Unified school district immediately responded to requests for comment.

Similar projects around teaching slavery in schools have attracted widespread outrage. In New York earlier this year, officials announced they were investigating a white teacher who, during lessons on slavery, allegedly told his class of mostly Black seventh graders to pick seeds out of cotton and put on handcuffs.

In Indiana, Black parents said their daughter’s teacher instructed students to draw a black person picking cotton during Black History Month as part of an assignment on life in the 1800s.

Insensitive assignments about slavery can traumatize students, according to a report from USA Today, and show how the US has fallen short in adequately and appropriately teaching the complex topic.

“Unfortunately, (slavery is) addressed often in ways that are either marginalizing or it’s the only way that Black people … are brought into the curriculum,” said Keffrelyn Brown, a professor of cultural studies in education at the University of Texas-Austin.

“We can never re-create, nor should we want to re-create, enslavement,” Brown said. “It minimizes the trauma of the history itself.”

A Los Angeles Unified school district spokesperson said the district typically does not comment on pending or ongoing litigation.

Comments

R B 171 days ago
SNOWFLAKE - seriously, just ridiculous! Find a real reason for a lawsuit cause that isn't it.

Newsletter

Related Articles

Beautiful Virgin Islands
Close
0:00
0:00
2 earthquakes in Turkey killed over 2,300 people
I have a dream, MLK inspiring speech
Powerful Earthquake Strikes Turkey and Syria, Killing More Than 1,300 People.
Aretha Franklin, Marvis Staples - Oh Happy Day
Turkish photographer Ugur Gallenkus portrays two different worlds within a single image. Brilliant work
BVI Freedom Song
Tennessee Bill Would Imprison People for 3 Years If They 'Lie' About Rape to Get an Abortion.
Billy Preston - You Can't Beat God Giving (Live)
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
VIRGIN ISLANDS REGGAE CARIBBEAN RIDDIMZ
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
Oh Happy Day Edwin Hawkins - Anthony Brown w FBCG Combined Choir
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
'Stand by Me' performed by Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
National Anthem of the British Virgin Islands - Oh, Beautiful Virgin
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Hello Dolly
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
for KING & COUNTRY - Amen (Reborn) [feat. Lecrae & The WRLDFMS Tony Wi
What is ChatGPT?
Bob Marley - Get Up Stand Up
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
Yes He Can
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
What A Friend We Have In Jesus
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Unforgettable
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Touch The Hem Of His Garment
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
The Lord's Prayer
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
THE GOD MOVEMENT...BEAUTIFUL BVI
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
Siyahamba
China's first population drop in six decades
Ray Charles And The Voices Of Jubilaton, Oh, Happy Day
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
Ramblin' Rose
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Protoje - Who Knows ft. Chronixx
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
Pressure - Virgin Islands Nice
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
Phil Wickham - House Of The Lord
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
My God Is Real (Yes, God Is Real)
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
The Lion King Circle of Life by LEBO M. — LIVE at the HAVASI Symphonic
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Louis Armstrong - When The Saints Go Marching In
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Kanye West Sunday Service - hallelujah, salvation, and glory
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Jonathan Nelson - I Believe (Island Medley
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
From The Virgin Islands Sqad Up
Common, John Legend - Glory
Anthony Evans vs. Jesse Campbell - If I Ain't Got You
×