At an elementary school in San Antonio, what was supposed to be a lesson on racism turned into a traumatic experience for the children. Leon Springs Elementary decided to teach its students about racism and civil rights but ended up doing so in a completely inappropriate and horrifying way that has angered many parents.
The elementary school decided that it would conduct an experiment to demonstrate racism to its students. First, the students were separated by the color of their hair, with one of the groups receiving preferential treatment.
“The dark-haired kids, the brown- and black-haired kids, were treated as the privileged ones and the blonde-haired and the redhead kids were the ones treated not so nicely,” said Brandi Lininger, the mother of a ten-year-old girl who was subjected to the experiment.
Lininger reported that the teachers told the dark-haired students that they were more “privileged”, and told the fair-haired students that they were “not as intelligent” as the dark-haired kids. The group with fair hair was also given a game with missing pieces so they were unable to play.
After attempting to play the useless game, the fair-haired children were forced to clean up after the other group.
Students began to cry during the experiment and reported psychological abuse to their parents. Brandi Lininger and her husband Mike said that their daughter was confused and hurt by the experiment.
Fifth graders at the school also had to watch a documentary called “4 Little Girls”, which is about the 1963 bombing of an Alabama church. The documentary showed graphic autopsy photographs of the bodies of dead children. Although the teacher claimed to have fast-forwarded the more graphic parts, the Liningers’ daughter her and her classmates still saw the disturbing images.
“The things that she said that she skipped over, my daughter was able to describe to us to a ‘T’,” said Mike Lininger. “So that night our daughter was unable to go to sleep in our own room, she was scared.”
Another major issue that parents have with this incident is that the parents were not informed that this social experiment would be taking place. Although the school sends out newsletters about all other school activities and events, it seems that this one was kept private from the parents.
In a statement given to News 4 San Antonio, Northside Independent School District said, “The activity and video in question were part of a larger fifth-grade project-based lesson around the inequity of segregation . . . While the campus did receive positive feedback from several parents . . . District and campus administration recognize the parent’s concerns and agree that the activity and video are not age-appropriate and will not be used again.”