A white teacher at a New York private school has been accused of staging a mock slave auction at which Black students were sold to white students.

The New York Daily News reports parents and students of Chapel School in Bronxville, New York, complained Rebecca Antinozzi, a fifth-grade social studies teacher, acted as an auctioneer while inviting white students to bid on their Black classmates. The auction, which parents say happened Tuesday, left many students uncomfortable and upset.

“When they got inside the classroom, she started a bidding process going, ‘$100, $200 …’ and said to one of the other kids, ‘You’re a wealthy white man’ and started bidding at $300,” Vernex Harding, a mother of one of the Black children, told the New York Post.

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Harding says her son and two other Black children were also taken into the hallway and asked to put on imaginary shackles around their ankles, wrists and necks.

“My son was humiliated," Harding said. “I’m shocked and infuriated that this happened to my son. I’m very shaken.”

Antinozzi is accused of staging the auction in two of her day's classes.

Michael Schultz, Chapel School's principal, told reporters school officials are currently investigating the incident. The principal refused to comment any further but did refer to the incident as a "racially insensitive and hurtful" event in an email sent to parents, according to WPIX. 

The auction caught the attention of New York State Attorney General Letitia James, who has launched a probe into what she called a "deeply troubling" matter.

“My office is monitoring this matter closely,” the attorney general said.

Antinozzi's lawyer insists the event has been misrepresented in the press.

“The portrayal of the history lesson that has been reported is inaccurate, out of context, contains false facts and ignores the overwhelming support of Ms. Antinozzi from dozens of parents at the school,” said attorney Joshua Kimerling. “To the extent anyone took offense to a small portion of the overall lesson that day, it certainly was never intended.”

Many parents claim the school has had multiple issues involving race, particularly when it comes to discipline. The school is in a wealthy neighborhood with tuition ranging from $5,000 to $13,900 per year. Black students are very much in the minority at the institution, and parents have complained students of color receive harsher punishments than white students.

Antinozzi has not been allowed to return to the classroom as the investigation continues.


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