A white teacher in Rochester, New York, is clapping back in the form of a lawsuit after being accused of making Black students pick cotton as part of a history lesson.
Patrick Rausch says his lesson was misconstrued and he’s the victim of a social media campaign of “inflammatory and untrue statements,” Democrat & Chronicle reports. In his lawsuit, Rausch admits to bringing cotton into his class as part of a history lesson about Eli Whitney and the cotton gin but says the allegations that made national headlines are false.
The Rochester City School District teacher says he only brought the unprocessed cotton to class to show how difficult it was to pick seeds by hand. Now Rausch is suing a local social justice organization, Save Rochester Inc., and two parents who made the claims on social media.
“Rausch made it clear that he was not requiring the students to touch the cotton and remove the seeds, and that it was completely voluntary for them to do so,” the lawsuit states.
“The students — both black and white — were eager to touch the cotton and try to remove the seeds from the cotton, and most chose to do so....