WATERTOWN — The North Elementary School teacher implicated in the alleged ‘slave auction’ had turned in her retirement one month before the incident, according to information obtained from the Watertown City School District through the Freedom of Information Law.
Patricia Bailey, who has been publicly accused by parents of having the auction, had been a teacher with the district for 36 years and had an annual salary of $85,250. Ms. Bailey’s retirement was acknowledged during a May 7 district Board of Education meeting, with an end date set for June 30, according to published meeting minutes.
The alleged incident occurred on May 28, during the fourth-grade classroom’s lesson on slavery.
A parent, Nicole Dayes, said her son, who is black, and another black classmate at North Elementary School, were instructed to stand on a table while white students bid on them in a mock slave auction. Once “bought,” Mrs. Dayes said her son was told to refer to them as “master” for the remainder of the lesson.
The district has still not confirmed or denied whether Ms. Bailey was involved in the incident, or acknowledged that the incident occurred.
On May 30, the district released a statement saying it “received complaints from parents that a fourth-grade teacher exercised poor judgment in teaching a recent lesson. The teacher has been placed on administrative leave pending a full investigation into the matter.”
Details on the investigation have remained mum from the district, but the state Attorney General’s Office was looking into the issue.
A spokesperson from the office said Friday that the district is continuing to cooperate with the office’s inquiry, and the office is still in the process of reviewing documents.
The Board of Education also released a statement on June 5, following their June 4 meeting — in which they did not directly address the issue — defending the district’s discrimination policies.
“The Board of Education wants to assure the public that it has in place very strong and effective policies that prohibit discrimination in the workplace and in the schoolhouse.”
“District staff and students are trained in those policies,” the release stated.