A white teacher in upstate New York has been suspended after telling a class of mainly black students to pick seeds out of cotton and wear handcuffs during a lesson on slavery.
Details of the lesson given to the 12-year-old children emerged in a Facebook posting from an angry parent.
Jahmiere O'Neal, one of the children, said part of the lesson was to show how cotton was made. To illustrate the point the children were given cotton and told to pick the seeds out with the teacher, Patrick Rausch, saying: "Better clean it right, boy."
"We were all shocked. We were just surprised that he would give us cotton and we didn't know what to do," Jahmiere added. The purpose of the class was to illustrate slavery and reflects the growing controversy in the US over how children should be taught about America's past.
However, in this case, the lesson appears to have backfired with both children and parents taking offence.
"He made a mockery out of slavery," one mother, Precious Tross, said. Her child was upset by the class.
"My daughter was looking to the floor. She should not have experienced something like that," a tearful Tross added.
"That is a mockery. That is disrespectful.
"You do not put our kids in any situation like that when you know our history. That hurts me to the core.
"I don't have a problem with you teaching our kids about slavery and what our ancestors went through and how they had to pick cotton.
"Our teachers back in the day told us that, but they don't bring in cotton and make you pick cotton seeds out of cotton."
The Rochester City School District said the teacher had been put on administrative leave. It declined to say whether it was paid or unpaid.
Rausch was unavailable for comment.