WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) —
Wake County Schools Director of Equity Lauryn Mascarenaz shared a firm message to all teachers in a tweet that has gone viral:
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“Teachers repeat after me: I will not have students make “Indian feathers and clothes..I will not culturally appropriate an entire people for cute activities. I will tell students the truth about this country’s relationship with Indigenous people.”
Teachers! Repeat after me:
I will not have my students make “Indian” feathers/clothes.
I will not culturally appropriate an entire people for “cute” activities.
I will tell my students the truth about this country’s relationship with Indigenous people.#PinterestIsNotPedagogy
— Lauryn Mascareñaz (@laurynmaria) November 16, 2018
On Tuesday, parents and neighbors reacted to the post.
“We want to teach our children about our history,” Lori Lyle said. “But we don’t want to offend. I don’t think feathers would be offensive in my book.”
“I think we should shelter our children,” said Jessica Vazquez, the mother to a 5-year-old. “Let them play with turkeys and learn about Indian culture.”
On Facebook, Jacklyn Coats wrote from personal experience in a post that reads in part: “As a Native American, Let me assure you. You didn’t learn anything factual. You learned a fairy tale.”
The state board of education governs the curriculum around America’s history and the origins of Thanksgiving.
The board provides grade-level guidelines and resources for teachers to consider in lesson plans.
Wake County Schools said it supports the controversial tweet.
A spokesperson said this week that teachers are focusing on the spirit of Thanksgiving emphasizing gratitude, generosity, family, and food — not necessarily props.
For instance at Dillard Drive Elementary, second-graders researched their family trees and shared about their cultures.
Twelve cultures were represented.
Wake County Schools said their educators also teach in a manner that is age-appropriate, respectful and an accurate representation of the stories and experiences of indigenous people.
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