An 8th-grade social studies teacher at Sacajawea Middle School in Washington has apparently lost her mind. KUOW reported that as a part of a lesson on industrial economics, the presently unidentified teacher thought it would be fun to have students see who could clean cotton the fastest.
Twin sisters, Emzayia and Zyeshauwne Feazell, were not having it.
“I didn’t understand why she was actually doing this as a teacher,” Emzayia said, “why she would bring a box of cotton into class.”
Emzayia and Zyeshauwne were the only Black students in their class that and initially went along with the project until their classmate began to make remarks about the activity that role-played what enslaved Africans in the American South were forced to do.
“Once I started to realize what we were actually doing, I didn’t like it,” Zyeshauwne said. “I didn’t want to pay attention and listen to it anymore.”
Her sister added that the other students began remarking about how if they had been enslaved, they would not have picked cotton. This made the twins even more uncomfortable.
When the twins reported what happened to their mother, Brandi Feazell, she called and spoke with an administrator who said the teacher would never make the students participate in such an activity because she had Black family members and said the instructor had a very kind and gentle soul.
After Feazell told the administrator that she would report the activity to the school district, he called back and offered to “segregate” the twins from the teacher’s class. That offer angered Feazell and her twins because it was punitive towards the students, not the teacher.
Brandi Feazell and her daughters are working with the ACLU of Washington, and TeamChild, a non-profit that helps youth assert their civil legal rights to try to reach a solution that is amenable to the twins, including the removal of the administrator, discipline of the teacher and a formal apology from Spokane Public Schools.
Spoke Public Schools sent a letter to KUOW that said they are currently investigating the incident through a third party and would send an update on their findings.