School Cancels First-Grade Thanksgiving Play: Concerns About ‘Accuracy’ and ‘Sensitivity’

Kindergartner Jailynn Lee gets a momentary new look as her teacher, Tanya McLaughlin, sizes the turkey hat she made at Mary Tsukamoto Elementary School, in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015. The hats were a class project to celebrate next week's Thanksgiving holiday.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

A Wisconsin elementary school canceled the traditional first-grade Thanksgiving play due to concerns about the “accuracy of the first Thanksgiving story” and “sensitivity of this time in our history.”

In an email obtained by News Talk 1130’s Dan O’Donnell Show, teachers told parents of children at Stone Bank Elementary School in Oconomowoc that the traditional Thanksgiving event would be canceled:

Unfortunately, the children are unable to dress as a Pilgrim or Native American. We apologize if you already purchased or made your child’s costume. There have been some conversations and concerns about the accuracy of the first Thanksgiving story. Out of respect for Native Americans, and the sensitivity of this time in our history, we are not going to reenact the first Thanksgiving story.

Please disregard the practice paper your child has been busy reading over the last few days. We still plan to have a Thanksgiving program where the children will perform a play, sing some songs, and share a big book with you. Again, we are sorry for the change of plans and hope that you understand.

According to the report, prior to the cancellation, parents of first-graders received a notice with instructions for children to learn a line about the first Thanksgiving:

A Wisconsin elementary school Thanksgiving assignment, which it later pulled

A Wisconsin elementary school Thanksgiving assignment, which it later pulled

A Wisconsin elementary school Thanksgiving assignment, which it later pulled

A Wisconsin elementary school Thanksgiving assignment, which it later pulled

“Please spend some time each night, between now and our Thanksgiving Program, to listen to your child read the passage below,” wrote the teachers.

The passage read, “They plowed the land. They planted the seeds they had carried from England across the ocean to America. And then they waited….”

Parents reportedly expressed anger over the Thanksgiving play’s cancellation.

“The teachers have been doing this for years without an issue,” one parent said. “Why is it different now?”

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