Video: Why has this teacher preserved one vacant seat in his classroom for more than 5 Decades?

When you enter the classroom that Daniel Gill teaches in at Glenfield Middle School in Montclair, New Jersey, you will notice a single chair sitting in the middle of the room by itself.

It is neither a chair for an administration to sit in while watching the class, nor is it a chair for disruptive kids to sit in during their time out. A reminder for the instructor of social studies and his pupils is the chair that has been left vacant.

“I placed a chair in my classroom so that everybody who comes to my classroom brimming with anticipation, like a party, would feel welcome.” This method was established as a result of a terrible ordeal that Gill will never forget.

In the 1980s, while teaching his pupils a lesson on the Civil Rights struggle for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, he first told them a story about an experience he and a buddy had in the 1950s.

Gill, who was white and nine years old at the time, and Archie, who was black and his closest friend, made preparations to go to a birthday celebration in the apartment in New York City where Gill resided.

They went to the residence with presents and rang the doorbell before entering.

The mother of the celebrant opened the envelope, glanced at the two boys, and then informed them that there were no more seats available.

Gill, confused by the situation, offered to sit on the floor or to acquire additional chairs; however, the lady maintained that there were no more seats available.

The fact that Archie was not welcome due of the hue of his skin was eventually brought to their attention. After giving the mother their gifts, the boys walked back to Gill’s flat while bawling their eyes out.

It was a meeting that Gill never forgot throughout the years, and it ultimately pushed him to become the person he is today.

He urged his students, “We need to be a class of opportunity. Because of the prejudice that the lady had, Archie was not given the chance to attend the birthday celebration that was being held.”

“In my wildest fantasies, I hope it transmits to children how they can be better and how they can treat others better. I think it’s important that they learn these things.”

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