Elementary school students in San Antonio, Texas, were segregated by the color of their hair, and children in one group were told they were not as smart as the other group.
Some parents in the Northside Independent School District are angry because they were not informed about an experiment that took place among fifth-graders at Leon Springs Elementary. Parents Mike and Brandi Lininger said that their ten-year-old daughter was “confused and hurt” by the experiment, which took place in January.
“All of the dark-haired kids, the brown and black-haired kids, were treated as the privileged ones and the blonde-haired and redhead kids were the ones treated not so nicely,” Brandi Lininger said. She said a teacher told students that the blonde and redhead kids were “not as intelligent.”
Blonde and redhead students were given games to play with that had missing pieces. They were also told to clean up after the dark-haired children.
“My daughter was hurt, her friends, and she named to the principal and to the district officials, names of her friends that were crying,” Brandi Lininger continued.
The experiment was patterned after an exercise created by teacher Jane Elliott. Elliott created the experiment in the 1970s, which initially segregated kids by their eye colors.
Fifth-graders were shown a Spike Lee documentary entitled “4 Little Girls” about the 1963 Ku Klux Klan bombing of an Alabama church. The Liningers claim the school showed students graphic images of the autopsies of the four girls who were killed.
Parents said the school notifies them when their children will watch “The Polar Express” or when they should dress up for pajama day. But, the school failed to notify parents that there would be a social experiment on segregation. The Liningers said this was an inexcusable error in the school’s transparency.
The school district said they believe the activity and video “are not age-appropriate” and agreed not to use them again.
“The activity and video in question were part of a larger fifth-grade project-based lesson around the inequity of segregation,” the statement read. “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.”