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A Mother in Virginia Says That White Students Told Her Asian American Son to Sit at a Segregated Table at School


Last week, a game after school at Lyles Crouch Traditional Academy in Alexandria, Virginia, turned into something bad.

A mom named Kathryn Kelley says that some white kids told her half-Asian fifth-grader son that he couldn’t sit with them.

Kelley told NBC Washington that they said white kids had to sit at a table next to mixed-race kids and African American and Black kids had to sit even farther away. “They said they were separated from the white kids and couldn’t play with them,”

She says that some students made fun of students of color because of their race and class.

“Of course, it was very hard.” It wasn’t clear. She said, “He was trying to figure out what was going on while also trying to protect his friends and stop what was happening but didn’t know what to do.”

According to a message sent to parents by the school’s principal on Friday, there was a “inappropriate game” as part of a “role play of a social studies lesson” that made some students feel bad.

The letter said, “Students want to talk about difficult class topics in many ways, some of which may be offensive.” It is a challenge to teach our students, and we need to be very aware of it when we have to talk about tough subjects.

She thinks that some things should have been done.

“When kids learn about these things, like segregation and the history of white supremacy in the U.S., they have to learn that, but it’s not a game, and they need to learn how important these things are.”

In the letter to parents, the principal of the school said she would work with her team to add lessons about how to think before you talk and act. The principal also said that everyone at the school needs to make sure that all of the students feel valued and honored.

Greg Carr, an Afro American studies professor at Howard University, said, “I think we start with what kids already know.”

To teach kids about acceptance, Carr said it’s easy to do things like ask them how they feel when they see TV characters who look like them. Guests can also be useful, he said.

“So elders who lived through that time could be used in a lesson on segregation,” Carr said. “An elder who knows how much it hurt to be separated can now tell you what it means.”

It’s not clear yet if any of the kids who played the game got in trouble. The teacher told the parents in a letter that she couldn’t say.

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