[A]n elementary school in Hattiesburg, MS is canceling Cotton Picking Day in celebration of Black History Month.
A father became angered when his stepson came home from school with a request to purchase a slave costume so they could reenact cotton picking. His teacher had made it a class project, and it was being done to honor Black History Month at Lillie Burney Elementary.
"I just didn't think it was appropriate," said Coleman, 26, who found the events calendar among his stepson's homework papers. "The school does a great job academically, but I think this was a mistake."
Amid the controversy, the school has canceled Cotton Picking Day as part of the school's Black History dress week. According to the schools superintendent, it has been replaced with Career Day.
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Coleman said he told the superintendent it was inappropriate to name the event Cotton Picking Day and to invite students to dress as slaves or in overalls.
"I believe it's something that should be taught in history, but it shouldn't be relived," he said. "I think they should look at the positive aspects to show students what they can achieve."
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Ann Chapman, president of the school board for the Hattiesburg Public School District, said she was glad Coleman expressed his concerns.
"Sometimes everything we do may not be politically correct, but we want to do whatever is necessary to work with our parents and children," she said. "I think it's always a good idea to make parents aware so they can share their concerns with us in case we need to revisit something."