School apologizes for photo that appeared to show black child on leash

BRIDGEWATER, Mass. (WHDH) – The Bridgewater-Raynham Regional School District is apologizing after a teacher shared a photo that appeared to show a black girl on a leash in her classroom.

Superintendant Derek Swenson said in a press release that a complaint was lodged late Wednesday night regarding the picture, which was apparently sent out in regards to a “recent enrichment program.”

Students in a third grade class at Mitchell Elementary School were given a presentation from Plimoth Plantation on 17th century attire, according to Swenson. Students were shown garments worn by parents, children, toddlers and infants.

Swenson said part of the presentation focused specifically on a garment worn by toddlers, which commonly featured tethering straps to assist them when learning to walk. The photo in question showed the child outfitted in similar attire and surrounded by others wearing clothes from the time period.

“We realize without context added to the photo that was shared by the classroom teacher it could be perceived differently,” said Swenson.

The school district apologized, saying the lesson was never intended to “demean or degrade any one group or person.”

Plimoth Plantation released the following statement:

“The photo in question can clearly be explained. It captures a moment in a classroom visit where one of Plimoth Plantation’s Living History Educators who visited a third grade class is sharing highlights of life in the 17th century.

As shown in the image, the infant is wearing a gown which is commonly known as leading strings. In 17th-century Europe this was a common clothing item, which was used to help keep toddlers safe while they were learning to walk.

This educational content is something that is presented in many of Plimoth Plantation’s classroom visits. We apologize for any misconceptions that this may have caused. It was never this Museum’s intent to treat any one person or group with disrespect.”

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