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White NY Teacher Put On Leave After Forcing Black Students To Pick Cotton As Part Of Slavery Lesson

White NY Teacher Put On Leave After Forcing Black Students To Pick Cotton As Part Of Slavery Lesson
News 8 WROC/YouTube

A White seventh-grade social studies teacher has been placed on leave after the Rochester City School District in New York was made aware of his racist teaching practices that involved students picking seeds from cotton.

The teacher, Patrick Rausch, was reportedly teaching his predominantly Black students a slavery history lesson that required them to pick cotton and wear shackles and handcuffs.

An investigation was underway when outraged parents complained about the racist lesson.

You can watch a news report, here.

Rochester City School District teacher accused of making students pick

School of the Arts seventh-grader Jahmiere O’Neal told WXXI that he was having a normal school day on Tuesday until he walked into his social studies class, and the lesson that day was about slavery and learning how to pick cotton.

“He gave the whole class cotton and we were made to pick out the cotton seeds,” said Jahmiere, adding, “He said, ‘Better clean it right, boy.’”

The White students in the classroom were allegedly allowed to work on their Chromebooks while the Black students were not given the option and had to pick cotton.

“We were all shocked. We were just surprised that he would give us cotton and we didn't know what to do," said O'Neal.

“It made me feel bad to be a Black person."

Parents are demanding for Rausch to be fired and for his license to be revoked.

A mother named Precious Tross–who also goes by Precious Morris–was furious after hearing about the hands-on lesson her daughter was subjected to in the classroom.

When Tross’s daughter, Ja’Nasia Brown, refused to participate after being told it was "for a good grade," Rausch threatened to send her to the principal's office.

“My daughter was looking to the floor. She should not have experienced something like that,” said Tross.

“That is a mockery. That is disrespectful. You do not put our kids in any situation like that when you know our history. That hurts me to the core.”

Tross took a photo of the pieces of cotton her daughter was given in class and posted it on Facebook, where it has been shared over 500 times.

Said Tross.

“I don’t have a problem with you teaching our kids about slavery and what our ancestors went through and how they had to pick cotton.”
“Our teachers back in the day told us that, but they don’t bring in cotton and make you pick cotton seeds out of cotton.”

On Thursday, the Rochester City School District said the teacher was put on investigative leave following complaints of the incident.

They did not specify whether his leave was paid or unpaid.

Rochester Teachers Association President Adam Urbanski withheld from "jumping to conclusions" until the investigation was complete.

He said that while simulations and roleplaying are not unusual approaches to teaching a lesson, he understood there is a fine line between what is acceptable and what is not.

“While we believe very strongly in due process and the right to an existing lawful protocol, we do not defend the indefensible,” Urbanski said.

“If someone departs from what they should be doing, they should suffer the consequences, but due process has to be allowed first.”

The school’s Principal Kelly Nicastro wrote a statement stating she was taking the “allegations very seriously,” and called the lesson “extremely troubling.”