Va. teacher holds mock slave auction

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Trying to bring a Civil War history lesson to life, teacher Jessica Boyle turned her fourth grade Norfolk classroom into a slave auction: She ordered black and mixed race students to one side of the classroom. Then, the white students took turns buying them.

Parent complaints began rolling in shortly after the April 1 lesson, and the principal at Sewells Point Elementary School, Mary B. Wrushen, wrote to parents last week that Boyle had gone too far.

“The lesson could have been thought through more carefully, as to not offend her students or put them in an uncomfortable situation,” Wrushen wrote.

Lessons on the Civil War have long been among the most sensitive topics in Virginia classrooms, many located near the grounds of the Confederacy’s bloodiest battles. And the role that slavery played in the conflict’s origins has been particularly controversial....

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Lisa Kazmier - 4/13/2011

The first thing that occurs to me is the comparison to gym class teams. The last person picked or "bought" is going to feel bad. How were the feelings of the kids who were "sold" taken into account, anyhow?