updated 3/4/2011 9:57:21 AM ET 2011-03-04T14:57:21

The mother of a black Ohio fifth grader assigned to play a slave for a social studies lesson says the school should be more sensitive.

Principal Scott Schmidt of Chapelfield Elementary in Gahanna called Aneka Burton to apologize for what happened to her son, Nikko, on Wednesday. Columbus station WBNS-TV reports Schmidt said no harm was intended.

Ten-year-old Nikko says the class was randomly divided into "masters" and "slaves" and that the only other black student got to be a master. Burton says her son refused to take part in a simulated slave auction and was sent back to his desk.

Burton says she appreciates the apology, but the exercise was inappropriate.

The school district said in a statement Thursday that officials acted promptly once the concern was raised.

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