Del. teacher under fire for combining slavery lesson with yoga workout: ‘Get into your boat pose’

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A Delaware school district is investigating after a kindergarten teacher integrated yoga poses into a virtual history lesson about American slavery.

The lesson was taught at McIlvaine Early Childhood Center in Magnolia as part of Black History Month, The Delaware News Journal reported. A clip of the 35-minute class shared by a parent on Facebook showed a female teacher in a cheerful voice describing how people from Africa, which she incorrectly described as a country, “came to America” by boat.

“African people came to America on boats to become slaves,” the teacher says in the video. “So here’s the great big country of Africa. They crossed the Atlantic ocean to come over to America — the U.S.A. — here’s where we live in Delaware. So right now, I need you to get into your boat pose.”

“Came? We were stolen,” says the woman recording the video on her computer screen.

“The Africans were treated very poorly,” the teacher in the video continues, “even though they farmed the land and plowed the fields to make America beautiful and help grow our food. There’s a picture of a plow tool that he is using. They worked in the fields all day. Now, if you’re at home, you can try the plow pose.” 

The teacher instructed the children how to get into each of the positions and control their breathing.

Multiple parents spoke with The News Journal saying they were outraged by the lesson.

“It’s 2021, you’d think this stuff would have ended a long time ago,” said parent Jessie Welch. “But it hasn’t because of ignorance. And this is an educator who’s supposed to be teaching our kids.” 

Caesar Rodney School District said it is investigating the lesson, which it said is “unacceptable and not consistent” with the district’s values.

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