PITTSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) — A Chatham County Schools mother says her son experienced a mock “slave auction” at school. That incident prompted a change in the district.
At Monday night’s school board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Anthony Jackson laid out a plan he said will begin the healing process and ensure this never happens again.
He also issued an apology.
“An apology to every student who has ever felt unsafe while in our care,” Jackson said. “To every student who has ever felt demeaned, disrespected or marginalized because of their race, ethnicity, sex, gender, religion or disability”
The board unanimously approved a plan that includes revisions to the student code of conduct, staff training, and building relationships with local community agencies including those who spoke at the meeting.
During public comment, students, parents, and community members called for changes in the district. Some families shared instances of racism they say occurred in schools.
Before the board meeting, roughly 100 people gathered outside Pittsboro Presbyterian Church across the street to demand change in the district and show support for Ashley Palmer and her family.
Two weeks ago, Palmer said her Black son’s classmates held a mock “slave auction” at J.S. Waters School in Goldston.
“These incidents were what we have described as pure blatant racism,” Palmer said. “This is not diversity and inclusion, this is not equity, this is racism and deserves to be treated as such.”
The rally was organized by Chatham Organizing for Racial Equity (CORE). Speakers included students, faith leaders, and members of the local NAACP chapter.
On social media Monday night, Palmer wrote, “My emotion tonight is simply Grateful. Let’s rest, recover and tomorrow we’ll get to work.”
CBS 17 asked a spokesperson for the district for more information on what type of punishments any students involved in the incident received. The district didn’t provide information beyond what the superintendent said at the meeting.