Two parents have filed a human rights complaint against the Hartford school system after their 12-year-old daughter was forced to participate in a slavery reenactment on a class trip. Last year, Sandra and James Baker of Farmington, Connecticut sent their daughter, then a student at Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy, on a four-day class trip to the Nature's Classroom program in Charlton, MA.
When their daughter, who is African American, returned home from the trip, she told her parents about the Nature's Classroom experience. On the third night of camp, instructors—acting the part of white masters—began the “educational” exercise. First they told the young girl that if she were to run “they would whip me until I bled on the floor and then either cut my Achilles so I couldn't run again, or hang me.”
They pretended to be on a slave ship.
They pretended to pick cotton.
They pretended their instructors were their masters.
And, in the spirit of historical accuracy, the students were also called the “n” word and chased through the woods by their white masters.
According to reports, students were told they didn’t have to participate in the “Underground Railroad skit,” but were only told 30 minutes in advance of the activity. And based on the title of the activity, it also seems the 7th graders were more than a little misled.
This is not the first time there have been complaints about the camp, but the complaints did not stop this school and several other Connecticut school systems from continuing to participate in the “skit.”