• Parent upset about cotton picking lesson

    By: Alison Grande


    REDMOND, Wash. -  A Redmond mother is outraged a teacher at Redmond Middle School assigned her daughter to pick cotton in class.

    Students were each given a cotton plant last Friday, to see what it was like to pick it.

    Carolyn Walker believes the students were supposed to "see what it was like to be a slave."

    "My daughter is African American and for her to pick cotton when her grandparents were raised on a plantation to pick cotton, is not OK, it's not OK at all, " said Walker.

    Walker called the school and told them her daughter would not be doing the assignment. She says the teacher gave her daughter an "F" on the assignment.

    The Lake Washington School District says the lesson was about the Industrial Revolution. In a statement, the district wrote, "Specifically, it is about the impact that the invention of the cotton gin had on the Industrial Revolution."

    KIRO 7 got ahold of the text book students are using. Chapter 11, the chapter the 7th graders are studying right now, is about slavery and the invention of the cotton gin.

    "It's not just about my daughter, all races should not have to participate in this. It's wrong, it's absolutely wrong," added Walker.

    She wants the school to drop the "cotton picking lesson" from the curriculum.

    Walker will meet with the teacher and the principal on Wednesday.

    “As a district, we value the diversity of our students and families. We expect teachers to provide instruction in ways that are culturally sensitive. It is very important to us to hear from students or families who have experienced a lesson they feel does not meet that ideal so that we can address the issues.”

    -Shannon Parthemer, Lake Washington School District

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