A North Carolina school system apologized after racist hashtags by 4th graders were displayed on a classroom Twitter wall as part of a Civil War assignment.
“It should be deeply disturbing to anyone,” Kimberly Morrison-Hansley, a member of the Union County NAACP chapter, said.
The students were assigned to write tweets and hashtags that people living in North Carolina during the Civil War might have written if Twitter existed back then, Morrison-Hansley said.
Students came up with such hashtags as “Slavery for Life,” according to a photo of the Twitter wall in a now-deleted post on the Waxhaw Elementary School Facebook page.
“@dontStopSlavery,” read a post on the Twitter wall, “you may not agree with slavery but I do and I’m honest about it.”
Morrison-Hansley called the assignment inappropriate for children so young. She is a former member of the county Board of Education and the first Black woman elected to the board.
She said the Twitter wall lacked context, so it appeared as if the students were spouting the racist comments, not expressing what they thought people during the war might have tweeted.
In its statement apologizing for the racist hashtags, the Union County Schools said “this type of assignment is unacceptable,” according to a copy of the statement provided to the Observer by Morrison-Hansley.
“District administrators are taking this matter very seriously and met with the entire Waxhaw Elementary staff,” according to the statement.
The school system “is actively developing training sessions for all employees to address diversity, equity and inclusion. We are committed to working with teachers to discuss best practices for instruction.”
Morrison-Hansley said the statement is inadequate. The superintendent and individual board of education members should face the public on YouTube and apologize themselves, she said.
Claiming to address diversity, equity and inclusion misses the real issue, she said.
As Morrison-Hansley said she told a Union County Diversity Committee the first night it met, those issues “did not bring us here tonight. Issues of racism are what brought us here and that need to be addressed.”
“Diversity, equity and inclusion,” she told reporters, “is code word for racism