An Illinois high school district issued an apology after a student organization held a mock slave auction over the weekend.
The skit, complete with slaves sold in chains, was held during the Illinois Junior Classical League Convention at the Westin hotel in Itasca, as part of a convention of students at Barrington High School, studying ancient Greece and Rome.
The sketch elicited a series of complaints from concerned parents, who have deemed the play “racially insensitive” and expressed outrage that children as young as 13 years old were allowed to attend such a skit.
The school has since then released a statement in their Facebook page:
"The Barrington School District offers sincere apologies to those offended by a skit our high school Latin students conducted at the Illinois Junior Classical Convention in Itasca this weekend. Their depiction of slavery as it was practiced by ancient Greeks and Romans unintentionally but understandably evoked strong emotions among a diverse audience. We agree with the concern and are reviewing the incident with students and staff who were involved."
The school district further added only a few students from the Barrington High School delegation were involved in that particular skit and that dozens other students and staff made significant contribution to the conference despite the brief episode.
The Illinois Junior Classical League's website states its purpose "is to encourage an interest in and an appreciation of the language, literature, and culture of ancient Greece and Rome and to impart an understanding of the debt of our own culture to that of Classical antiquity."
A similar activity at Michigan camps had been going on for over 20 years, but focused on American slavery instead.
Only recently, YMCA discontinued its Underground Railroad activity at its Storer Camps in Michigan, which featured children as slaves on auction blocks and teachers as owners who chased them around on horseback.
The activity was supposedly created to remind visitors of the errors of slavery, but actually succeeded in traumatizing children.