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Historical Reenactment At School Sparks Outrage (Photos)

Historical Reenactment At School Sparks Outrage (Photos) Promo Image

A Pilgrim reenactment scene at a Massachusetts elementary school has created an uproar.

A photo of the scene, which was posted on Facebook, was mistaken as a representation of slavery, the Daily Mail reports.

The photo shows a young black girl on her knees in front of a pair of white children, who hold strings connected to the dress on her back.

The image was shared more than 10,000 times, eliciting demands the "Pilgrim" educator be fired.

Monica Cannon-Grant, who posted the photograph, included in her post the contact information of Mitchell Elementary School Principal Heidi Letendre, saying: "Ask her why this is okay?? Demand that this Teacher is fired!"

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"She needs to take her stupid a*s to work at a ZOO," wrote one commenter on the Facebook post. "She should NEVER be trusted to EDUCATE OUR CHILDREN. FIRE HER A*S."

"You can't f**king explain away this ignorance and insensitivity," wrote another.

"This is not justifiable in no way shape or form," another commenter wrote.

"This is still WRONG!" added another Facebook user. "You don't put a leash around any child, let alone a black child in a predominantly white class! This white ignorance is getting old. That poor child has no one to protect her from this willful ignorance."

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In response to the avalanche of criticism, Derek J. Swenson, superintendent of schools for the Bridgewater-Raynham Regional School District, issued a statement that reads in part:

On Friday, October 13, the Plimoth Plantation presented a lesson to third grade students.

Through our investigation, it was explained by the Director of Education from Plimoth Plantation that a portion of the lesson focused on 17th-century attire -- particularly garments worn by parents, children, toddlers and infants.

Specifically, the garment worn by toddlers commonly used tethering straps to assist them when learning to walk.

We realize without this context added to the photo that was shared by the classroom teacher it could be perceived differently.

Please note it was never the intent of the lesson to demean or degrade any one person or group.

The Bridgewater-Raynham Regional School District sincerely apologizes to the students, staff and community at large for this unfortunate incident.

The Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum, "offers powerful personal encounters with history built on thorough research about the Wampanoag People and the Colonial English community in the 1600s."

Rob Kluin, Plimoth Plantation's director of marketing and communications, examined the controversial photo and put it in historical perspective.

"As shown in the image, the infant is wearing a gown which is commonly known as leading strings," he explained in an email to the Daily Mail. "In 17th-century Europe this was a common clothing item, which was used to help keep toddlers safe while they were learning to walk. This educational content is something that is presented in many of Plimoth Plantation's classroom visits. We apologize for any misperceptions that this may have caused. It was never this Museum's intent to treat any one person or group with disrespect."

Sources: Daily Mail, Plimoth Plantation / Featured Image: Pixabay / Embedded Images: Facebook via Daily Mail

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