School administrators in a community outside of Boston, Massachusetts, offered an apology after a photo appearing to show a young Black girl held on a leash by two white students, swept the internet.
The photo shows an instructor along with two white students and one black student decked out in 17th-century attire, while the two white students held a leash attached to the young Black girl kneeling on the floor.
The third-grade classroom’s teacher shared the photo with her student’s parents, but outraged ensued once the photo was shared to Facebook, prompting complaints from parents.
According to The Boston Globe, the photo was taken during an October 13 class discussion when a member of the Plimoth Plantation historical museum visited the class for a history lesson. Bridgewater is a small town located 32 miles south of Boston, Massachusetts.
In an email obtained by The Globe, Derek Swenson, superintendent of the Bridgewater-Raynham Regional School District, apologized for the optics but went into great detail to give the photo context. School officials would not go into specific details or name the involved parties in order to protect the minors involved.
“Through our investigation, it was explained by the director of education from Plimoth Plantation that a portion of the lesson focused on 17th century attire — particularly the garments worn by parents, children, toddlers, and infants,” he said. “Specifically the garment worn by toddlers commonly used tethering straps to assist them when learning to walk.”
Rob Kluim, the museum’s spokesperson, also apologized for the photo in a statement to The Globe. He explained the students and instructor were depicting a 17th Century family, mother and her three children, with one of the children wearing a garment with leading strings.
“We are deeply saddened by this, as our museum’s educational mission is to provide fun and engaging encounters with the history of the 17th-century Atlantic world,” Kluim said.
SOURCE: The Boston Globe