Norfolk investigates fourth grade teacher's mock 'slave auction'

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by Karen Hopkins

WVEC.com

Posted on April 11, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 11 at 5:39 PM

NORFOLK -- A fourth grade Norfolk teacher showed bad judgment in auctioning off black students to teach students a lesson on the Civil War, school officials said.

A letter to parents with children at Sewells Point Elementary School was sent home last week, following the April 1 incident.

Officials say teacher Jessica Boyle separated black and mixed-race students from their white peers and then put them up for sale.

The letter from Principal Mary B. Wrushen says, in part, "Although her actions were well intended to meet the instructional objectives, the activity presented was inappropriate for the students."

Norfolk Public Schools Communications Director Elizabeth Mather says there are policies in place to prevent inappropriate lesson plans.

She said the teacher in this case did not present the lesson plan to the principal for review.

She noted that all teachers follow an approved curriculum, but they're responsible for making their lesson plans, which are suppsoed to be approved by principals.

Boyle has been in Norfolk Public Schools since 2005.

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