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Posted: October 19, 2017

School ends Civil War dress up day weeks after child was called a ‘slave’; mom wants more done 

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By Ellen Eldridge

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A Cobb County elementary school will no longer host a dress up activity at the conclusion of its studies on the Civil War, but the mother who says her fifth grade son was called a slave by another student isn’t satisfied.

Corrie Davis has been hoping for a resolution since early October, when her son told her what happened in class at Big Shanty Elementary School in Kennesaw.

“Toward the end of school break last week, my son walked over and said, ‘Mom, something happened at school.’”

MORE: Parents angry at Cobb school about Civil War dress-up day

Davis said her stomach dropped when he told her how one of her son’s friends, a white child, said he was dressed as a plantation owner during the Sept. 22 activity. When her son, who is black, asked why he would dress that way, the friend said, “We had to dress up so I’m a plantation owner and you’re my slave.”

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Since then, Davis has asked first and foremost that the school agree not to host “a dress up activity that is oppressive,” she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

But officials had refused to say they’d stop until Thursday afternoon, when Assistant Superintendent for Cobb County Elementary Schools Robin Lattizori emailed a letter Davis considered “cold” and only in the interest of protecting the school.

“The lack of care toward my family is overwhelming to me right now,” Davis said shortly after receiving the letter.

School officials did not return mulitple requests for comment by the AJC.

While the school — but not necessarily the district — agreed to change the curriculum for dressing in Civil War attire, Davis said she asked for more in conversations with officials.

Davis said her son doesn’t feel like he can get a fair shot with the principal now and spin-off conversations about race among the students is getting out of control.

Davis said she wants an expert from outside of Cobb to help students navigate these difficult conversations that stem from the Sept. 22 simulation. The instructions for dress up day included:

"BE CREATIVE and use your resources to ensure that your costume is as accurate as possible," the Georgia school's note informed parents. It included a small picture of a man in Civil War dress with what appears to be one of several flags used by the Confederate States of America.

The mother of two wants the school district to intervene and ask for more professional devleopment, such as diversity and sensitivity training for school officials and teachers. 

She’s also still waiting for a formal apology.

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