Administrators at an elementary school in Bridgewater, MA have apologized, after an offensive classroom photo posted on Facebook appeared to show a little black girl with leashes around her neck. The photo was taken during a field trip, and is extremely shocking at first glance. But the school says it was taken out of context. Parents are now asking why it was shared in the first place.

offensive classroom photo

Image: CBS Boston

The offensive classroom photo was shared on the school’s Facebook page. It appears to show a little black girl with leashes around her neck. The leashes are being held by two other students.

The photo was taken during an enrichment program at Mitchell Elementary School. The program is meant to teach students about pilgrims. However, some parents say the photo tells a different story, and they weren’t given the context when it was posted. Context is everything, especially on social media.

The “leashes” around the little girl’s neck are actually 17th century lead strings. They were used to help children learn to walk, and to keep them from wandering away. The school says the girl volunteered to participate in the lesson.

Outrage was swift. One parent said, “If you look at that picture out of context, what are you going to think. It’s clearly what it looks like, it’s disgusting”. Another mom picked her child up from school early, because she felt uncomfortable.

The Superintendent issued a statement, apologizing for the photo.

Derek Swenson said in a statement, “It was never the intent of the lesson to demean or degrade any one person or group. The Bridgewater-Raynham Regional School District sincerely apologizes to the students, staff and community at large for this unfortunate incident.” Plimoth Plantation, the organization that provided the lesson, has also apologized. The parents of the student have met with administrators.

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(Image: CBS Boston)