A junior high field trip for learning about America's past deteriorated into an over-the-top re-enactment of the Underground Railroad, complete with at least one participant shouting the n-word, parents of one of the students allege.
WFSB reports that a four-day trip from Magnet Trinity College Academy in Hartford, Conn., last year to Nature's Classroom in nearby Charlton, Mass., included a day devoted to slavery re-enactment.
Sandra Baker, a mother of one of the students, told WFSB that she and her husband have filed a complaint against their daughter's school board over what allegations their daughter made.
"I ask that you imagine these phrases being yelled at our 12-year-old child and their friends," parent Sandra Baker said at a Hartford School Board meeting. "'Bring those (n-word) to the house over there. (N-word) if you can read, there's a problem. Dumb, dark-skinned (n-word). How dare you look at me?'"
During the meeting, the girl's father, James Baker, told the board that during the re-enactment, his daughter was told that she would be "whipped" until she bled on the floor, have her Achilles heel cut so she could no longer run, or be hung, according to WFSB.
David Medina, director of external communications for the school district, told Yahoo News that a complaint was filed with the Connecticut human rights office, but said he could not comment further.
Yahoo News spoke with John Santos, executive director of Nature's Classroom. Santos said that he only recently became aware of the incident. He said that his organization does offer a variety of classroom experiences.
"The re-enactment did take place," he said. He believed that a total of 16 teachers and employees of Nature's Classroom, a nonprofit organization, took part in the re-enactment, but stressed that the use of the "n-word" is not in the program's curriculum.
The Underground Railroad was a network of Civil War-era abolitionists, often whites, who helped slaves escape from Southern states to the free North.
The Raw Story reports that Nature's Classroom came under fire several years ago over a similar incident.