Mom says her Black son was sold in a mock slave auction by classmates

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A mother has spoken out about her Black son’s classmates who sold him in a mock slave auction. Ashley Palmer took to Facebook on March 4 and shockingly revealed, “Our son experienced a slave auction by his classmates and when he opened up we were made aware that this type of stuff seems to be the norm so much that he didn’t think it was worth sharing.”

“His friend ‘went for $350’ and another student was the Slavemaster because he ‘knew how to handle them,'” she continued revealing how the students at J.S. Waters School, which serves grades K-8, also sang the N-word. In a follow-up post, Palmer noted that the students involved in the auction received only a day’s suspension before claiming that her child was assaulted by a classmate and that he had experienced “continuous harassment” ever since the matter was reported to the school, according to CNN.

On Monday, students, parents, and community members gathered to report their experiences with racism at schools in the district during public comment at the Chatham County School Board meeting. One mother shared a conversation she had with her son, who was allegedly one of the kids who were sold in the mock slave auction, after learning about the incident from another parent.

“I asked my son why didn’t he tell me? He responded with, ‘Mom it wasn’t a big deal.’ I am a mother who just had to explain to my son why being auctioned as a slave is unacceptable. This moment in my son’s early life has already made him question playing the sport he loves with his friends, and I pray this does not impact him mentally and socially going forward,” she expressed.

Superintendent Anthony Jackson eventually apologized to everyone before presenting an action plan to the school board. “As a father, as an educator, as a grandfather, tonight was very difficult. It’s difficult to sit here and listen and hear and hurt for our children. Schools are for children, and as partners with parents, we are responsible for helping students realize their full potential. As many people identified tonight, creating safe environments for students is the first promise schools make to families,” he shared.

“As a newcomer to our school system and to this community, before I offer any plans, I want to do something that needs to be done here publicly. I want to offer an apology. An apology to every single student who has ever felt unsafe while in our care. To every student who has ever felt demeaned, disrespected, or marginalized because of their race, ethnicity, sex, gender, religion, or disability. In Chatham County Schools we proudly boast that diversity is our strength and moving forward it will be our intentional focus to ensure that this celebration includes everyone. Moving forward my personal commitment to you is that we will do better,” he continued.

Jackson pitched an action plan which included changes in the district’s policy on how discriminatory situations should be handled from start to finish. This includes notifying guardians, parents, investigation, social support, discipline, and resources for victims, staff training, and an after-action plan. The North Carolina school board unanimously approved the action plan.

Representative cover image source: Getty | Photo by John Howard