A California high school canceled their senior auction after one student compared the event to slavery.
The fifteen-year-old tradition at John F. Kennedy High School involves students offering to perform various activities or tasks to raise money for a school dance, reports Fox News.
Lamari Johnson, a 17 year-old female student at the school, claimed the event was “disrespectful” and almost the same as slavery. Johnson started a petition “Stop human actions at JFK highschool” to put an end to the event.
“WE ARE NOT PROPERTY OR OBJECTS. Putting a price to someone’s worth is WRONG. Students should be taught to have respect and value,” the petition read.
Johnson also took issue with the event being held during Black History Month. According to Johnson, that only made it worse.
“I find it disrespectful to be selling/auctioning off human beings. My ancestors fought for freedom, fought to not be enslaved,sold and separated from their family,” the petition stated. Johnson also claimed that she overheard students making jokes about being able to buy slaves.
The Sacramento chapter of Black Lives Matter also lent their support to the petition, urging their Facebook followers to sign it.
“The level of insensitivity — the cruelty — is mind-boggling. (Seriously though- during Black History Month???)” the group said. “Please sign this JFK student’s petition to call on the school to apologize for permitting a slave auction on school grounds during Black History Month.”
School Principal David Van Natten agreed to put a stop to the tradition in the years to come.
“I think in today’s environment where there’s a lot of insensitivity towards groups of people we need to be very mindful of that,” Sacramento City Unified School District spokesperson Alex Barrios said.
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