Was This the Worst Field Trip in the World, Ever?

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Last fall, the seventh-graders at the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy in Connecticut spent a few days at something called Nature's Classroom, a week-long program where, according to the website, students are given "the chance to experience education from another perspective" and participate in "motivational activities which are both academic and enjoyable."

A Farmington parent has filed a human rights complaint against the Hartford school system following a magnet school field trip last fall in which students participated in a slavery reenactment that included the use of racial slurs ...

According to the Bakers, the reenactment exercise included threatening language and use of the N-word; packing together students in a dark room, as if they were on a slave ship; and "white masters" — instructors at Nature's Classroom who were white — chasing students through the woods.

Nature's Classroom puts "an emphasis on scientific inquiry and critical thinking."

The Bakers' [12-year-old] daughter was called the "N" word and told that she was property. She was also threatened to be whipped, have her Achilles cut, or hanged if she ran away.

Nature's Classroom promises that, after spending a few days in this alternative learning environment, "students develop a sense of community" and "a confidence in themselves."

Earlier this year, a social worker and an intervention specialist at the Hartford school debriefed dozens of students who participated in the exercise ... Among the negative feedback: "Felt like it was real, felt like a real slave," "Started to believe some of the things the group leaders were saying" and "Did not feel like it was a joke, did not know if the leaders were joking."

Ditch your boring, not-at-all terrifying normal classroom and come to Nature's Classroom!