Hamden elementary school teacher on leave after reportedly casting 2 students of color as slaves in play


HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A fifth-grade teacher at a Hamden elementary school has been placed administrative leave after reportedly casting two students of color as slaves in a school play.

RELATED: ‘Set your price for a slave’: Elementary school teacher on leave after controversial classroom activity

Staff at West Woods Elementary said the unnamed teacher introduced the play concept to students as the triangular trade. This fifth grade play focused on the slave trade from the 19th century.

Parents became upset and took their complaints to the school board. The Hamden Board of Education said the play was unauthorized and canceled it.

Dr. Carmen Parker said her child is now being targeted as the reason the play was canceled.

She wants school officials to step up and do more.

“This is a failure of the administration,” she said. “This is not on my list of things to do. I haven’t been to work in a week; we had other things to do. This is a failure of the administration to know how to listen to minority voices.”

Mayor Curt Leng said he’s assembling Hamden Equity and Inclusivity Task Force to tackle issues of racism in the school and community.

“We will work, not just talk, to address issues of bias, racism, inequity, inclusivity, and related challenges.”

The board is holding a community input session on Feb. 13 at 6 p.m.

It will be held at the elementary school, which is located at 350 W Todd St.

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