A Black woman is suing her daughter’s Los Angeles school after the school forced her class to perform a cotton picking exercise “to see what slavery was like,” according to documents by court.
Rashunda Pitts is filing a civil lawsuit against Los Angeles Unified and the Board of Education on behalf of her daughter, who was identified only as SW in the Los Angeles Superior Court complaint filed Wednesday.
Pitts’ lawsuit claims a cotton picking field was set up at her Hollywood school in 2017, under the auspices of being an educational tool about slave life, NBC Los Angeles report.
“Bewildered as to why a cotton field would develop in Hollywood, let alone public school property, she phoned the main office to speak with the principal about the cotton field,” the lawsuit states. write.
Girls become more moody and depressed as the school year begins, consistent with the allegation
The daughter, now 14, was attending Lauren Span School in the fall of 2017 and is said to be getting more and more moody as the school year goes on, due to fatigue.
When Pitts saw the cotton field on campus with her own eyes after dropping her daughter off at school, her daughter’s mood became more understandable “when she thought about the cotton-picking project,” the suit reads.
“She (SW) had uncontrollable anxiety attacks and experienced bouts of depression thinking about the cotton picking project,” according to the lawsuit, which also alleges negligence and seeking damages. Unknown.
A representative for LAUSD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Vice Principal “Enthusiastic” told the student’s mother about the cotton picking project
The lawsuit states that Pitts eventually confronted Assistant Principal Brian Wisniewski, who “enthusiastically informed her that the children in the SW class were reading Frederick Douglass’ autobiography and that cotton picking was one of the experiences. experiences that he wrote in his autobiography.”
Wisniewski added that the cotton field was planted so that the students could experience what it was like to be a slave and pick the cotton themselves, the lawsuit claims.
“Absolutely furious at the idea that the school would let her daughter and other children pick cotton as a school exercise to identify with the real-life experiences of African-American slaves,” Ms. Pitts said. their frustrations and hurt related to cultural insensitivity. and the project is incompetent,” according to the lawsuit.
The class in which the supposedly heavenly exercise takes place is a course on social justice. Although Pitts’ daughter was not forced to participate, she had to watch other students pick cotton.
She added that her daughter was reluctant to come forward about the project’s inappropriateness due to fear of teacher retaliation, according to the lawsuit.
Later, the school administrators admitted that they regretted the “Teaching Activity”
No parental consent form was provided for the project and parents were not informed of the idea in advance.
Meanwhile, the lawsuit says LAUSD later issued a statement, saying it regretted that a “teaching activity” at Laurel Span School had been deemed culturally insensitive.
“When school administrators learned of parents’ concerns about cotton plants, they responded immediately by removing the plants,” the statement said.
Pitts’ lawsuit claims the claim is an admission that the cotton-picking project is discriminatory and harmful to students, the lawsuit continues.