Mother sues LA school district after daughter involved in picking cotton

The Black mother claims that the experience traumatized her daughter
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com / Maglara

A Black mother is suing the Los Angeles United School District after her daughter allegedly suffered trauma and anxiety for partaking in a class’ cotton-picking exercise to renact the days of slavery.

Rashunda Pitts said her daughter, who is only identified as “S.W” in legal documents, told her that her social justice teacher at Laurel Cinematic Arts Creative Tech Magnet designed a project to “gain a real-life experience as to what the African American slaves had endured.” The suit also names the former principal and social justice teacher as defendants, The Los Angeles Times reports.


The lawsuit emanates from 2018 when Pitts noticed a conspicuous change in her daughter’s disposition. Prior to the episode, Pitts claimed her daughter used to “vibrantly share her day with her mother.” Suddenly, Pitts claims in the suit that her daughter was now “very quiet and reserved,” alarming the mother.

“She has uncontrollable anxiety attacks and … experiences bouts of depression when she thinks about the cotton picking project,” according to the suit in which Pitts is seeking unspecified damages, according to NBC Los Angeles.


One day, while visiting the school, Pitts noticed a cotton field on the campus.

Pitts inquired about the cotton field with Assistant Principal Brian Wisniewski, who “enthusiastically informed her that the children in S.W.’s class were reading the Autobiography of Frederick Douglass and that picking cotton was one of the experiences that he wrote about in the autobiography,” the suit states.

The mother was livid.

“Completely incensed with the idea that the school would have her daughter and other children pick cotton as a school exercise to identify with the real-life experience of African-American slaves, Ms. Pitts expressed her disappointment and hurt in regards to the culturally insensitive and incompetent project,” according to the suit.

The daughter said she was never forced to pick cotton herself but had to watch others do it. The teen never shared her misgivings about the project because she feared retaliation and poor grades from her teachers, the mother claims.

When the mother demanded the school remove the cotton fields within 24 hours, she said the assistant principal balked at its immediate removal, saying “it would take up to a week.”

Read more about:

Also read

Lil Roc
Lil Roc shares why Los Angeles is the place to be for comedians
Alexis Miranda
Comedian Alexis Miranda thrives on being different
diddy_featured_bang
Diddy being sued by woman claiming to be Kim Porter's niece
John Hope Bryant
Operation HOPE and SBA announce collaboration to empower small Black businesses
2017 Billboard Music Awards - Show
Why Nicki Minaj is suing an Instagram influencer
Justin Williams
Justin Williams shares how Roc Nation supports the next generation of creators

Watch this video

What's new

Weekend Watch: Hellraiser
Weekend Watch: 'Hellraiser' resurrects fan-favorites in reimagined film
Amanda Seales
Comedian Amanda Seales dispenses laughs from coast to coast
Kasha Johnson details the journey that led her to become head of training at Bedroom Kandi by Kandi Burruss (Photo by Derrel Jazz Johnson for rolling out)
How Kasha Johnson became head of training for Bedroom Kandi