Rock Hill School District Responding After A Controversial Field Trip

ROCK HILL, SC. — Rock Hill School district is responding after a controversial field trip. Video of a field trip shows students picking cotton and singing questionable songs. Some parents are upset, saying the songs students had to sing were insensitive.

District officials say all fifth graders in the district have been going to Carroll School to learn about The Great Depression for 15 years.

York County Council member William Bump Roddey were troubled after watching a video from that field trip. His son went on the field trip last year.

“When you put the cotton picking, with the field exercise that they were doing, then you add the song to it, I think that really kind of takes over the top a little bit,” says Roddey.

The district posted a video about the Carroll School and the field trip on YouTube in 2017.

Parents are sent a permission slip that has a description of the field trip. It says students will learn about The Great Depression by: “Participating in hands-on activities with sewing, planting a garden, picking cotton and food preservation.”

Erica Poplus’ daughter went on the same field trip last year, but didn’t know about the singing.

“It stirred me because my daughter when she attended the field trip back in September, we didn’t have pictures we didn’t have videos so I didn’t know what they did that day,” says Poplus.

District officials say the song was written by an African-American instructor who works at Carroll School. The lyrics came from the instructor’s experience as an African-American farmer during The Great Depression. The district is now reviewing any songs sung during the field trip. Rodney is happy with the way the district is handling the situation.

“Really excited about the talks in the direction of a resolution that we’re going to see come out, the district says are going to work on some things,” says Roddey.

The parent who originally raised concerns about the field trip told WCCB she wanted the district to hear her concerns and make a change. She says the district has reached out, and the conversation is moving in a positive direction.