BC School Apologizes For ‘Slave Day’ Student Auction & Blackface Yearbook Photo
A B.C. middle school is apologizing for some events of the past that have recently been exposed. On Tuesday, June 9, Rosedale Middle School owned up to hosting what the called "slave day" many years ago. They also apologized for a blackface photo from a past yearbook.
Reports of what has allegedly occurred at the school emerged on Black Vancouver's Instagram account.
Rosedale Middle School in Chilliwack, B.C. was called out by former students for hosting an annual "slave day" in which students were auctioned off and sold to teachers, explained one of the photos in the Instagram post.
A teacher in the school reportedly "put a leash and collar on some students and made them crawl around like an animal."
The next image features a yearbook description of the auction. The yearbook caption says that grade 8 and 9 students were auctioned off to fellow students, raising a total of $450 for the school. "Rosedale students could buy slaves in the auction and use them the following day," the caption goes on to read.
It then described the duties of the students purchased in the auction. "Obedient slaves carried books, wrestled, dressed in crazy costumes, and committed outrageous stunts to please their masters and the crowd," the yearbook said.
The photos posted by Black Vancouver also include an image of a boy smiling inside a glass cage. A poster reading "Adopt a family" can be seen behind him.
Rosedale Traditional Community School represents the entire school district, including the middle school. The district's Interim School Superintendent, Rohan Arul-pragasam, said on a letter posted on Facebook that they did, in fact, hold a "slave day" several years ago.
Arul-pragasam said in the letter, "We take responsibility for that and I unreservedly apologize on behalf of the District for that event."
The superintendent also apologized for another incident in which a student wearing blackface was photographed as part of a mock trial classroom exercise. The photo was then printed in the school's yearbook.
"The school bears responsibility for allowing that to happen," the letter reads.
Arul-pragasam then acknowledged that there are potentially other instances of racism and discrimination that occurred in their district.
"I want to hear ideas about how we can be better," he said.
Arul-pragasam concluded the letter by saying, "As a School District, we have a special responsibility."
"We are expected to, and must, lead by example," he said.
Narcity has reached out to Rosedale Middle School for comment and we will update this article when we receive a response.