Nature’s Classroom has some explaining to do.
The Massachusetts-based environmental education organization is currently under fire for their Underground Railroad experience.
James and Sandra Baker sent their 12-year-old daughter on a four day field trip there. She returned home with some appalling details about the organization.
The girl said students were led into a dark room, lined up and asked to imagine watching as their fathers were killed by slave masters before they were loaded onto slave ships. The instructor ordered them to sit closely together and warned students that they would relieve themselves on one another and likely get sick, the girl said. She also told her parents that the instructor told her she may have to dance to entertain the others. The students were then taken to some woods, where the girl said they pretended to pick cotton, and she told her parents the instructors called them animals who had no rights. The instructors also threatened to whip her, cut her Achilles tendon or hang her if she tried to run away.
Similar allegations about the organization were made five years ago by parents of children who attended the Underground Railroad experience.
Nature’s Classroom has not issued a statement addressing the matter.
This is one of those instances where more questions come to mind than answers.
Nature’s Classroom’s website says that it “gives students and teachers the chance to experience education from another perspective, outside of the classroom.”
Thoughts on the incident? Is it offensive?
Are slave reenactments ever appropriate?
Sound off below!