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A New York Lutheran private school came under fire earlier this year when a teacher reportedly held “mock slave auctions.” A state investigation of the school has now concluded with findings of damage to the students and a plan to move forward.
The scandal at The Chapel School in Bronxville, New York, started in March. Fifth-grade teacher Rebecca Antinozzi allegedly had three Black students in her classroom go out into the hallway, where she pretended to place shackles on them. She then had the children re-enter the room and stand against the wall, where they pretended to be slaves.
Antinozzi took the role of the auctioneer and cast the white students as wealthy slave owners who were instructed to bid on their classmates. She reportedly repeated the mock slave auction in another fifth-grade class, as well. A mother of one of the Black students came forward, and an investigation ensued.
Two months later, the New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office has released its findings of the investigation to the public, which were unsurprising, but nonetheless sad. In a statement, the Attorney General’s office stated that the mock slave auctions “had a profoundly negative effect on all of the students present—especially the African-American students.”
While Antinozzi had already been fired, her actions in March were only a part of the problem at The Chapel School. The investigation also found past parental complaints about the racial environment at the private Lutheran school, including “unequal discipline of students on the basis of race, a lack of racial sensitivity and awareness in school curricula, and a lack of diversity among the teaching faculty.”
The Attorney General also shared the agreement The Chapel School had come to with the office to address the racial inequality at the school. Among other things, the agreement requires that the school hire a chief diversity officer, and provide additional financial aid to improve the diversity of the student body. Officials also must submit a staff diversification plan, a discipline reform plan, and a new Code of Conduct to the Attorney General’s office.
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H/T NBC News
Alex Dalbey is a writer and zinester currently living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They have written for The Daily Dot, Kill Screen, The Lingerie Addict, and Bullet Points.