Rock Hill Schools Superintendent Apologizes After Controversial Field Trip

ROCK HILL, SC. —  The Rock Hill Schools Superintendent publicly apologized after a controversial field trip, where kids were picking cotton and singing songs. It sparked outrage after parents said the songs sound a lot like slave songs.

While students picked cotton, they sang lyrics like, “I like it when you don’t talk back, make money for me, make money for me.”

Picking cotton and singing those songs will no longer be part of the Rock Hill School District’s fifth grade field trip to Carroll School. In a meeting with the NAACP, Superintendent Dr. Bill Cook apologized.

“What was intended to be educational opportunity for Carroll school alumni to share some of their life experiences with elementary students, has caused others members of our community to feel offended or hurt,” says Dr. Cook.

District officials told WCCB the song was written by an African-American instructor who works at Carroll School. The lyrics came from the instructors experience as an African-American farmer during The Great Depression. Many parents thought the songs sung while the students picked cotton were offensive.

The permission slip sent to parents said students would learn about The Great Depression during the annual field trip. With a description of the field trip saying: “by participating in hands-on activities with sewing, planting a garden, picking cotton and food preservation.”

The district says the permission slip is being revised to add more detail about the field trip.

Dr. Norma Gray with the NAACP of Rock Hill says she’s happy with the resolution.

“I’m 100% pleased, because again it’s about the results. We’ve said in our meetings before that it’s not about who does what, where, when, how, it is about the end results.” says Dr. Gray.