A California high school tied up black students during a slavery reenactment project. Students are pictured on Jan.21, 2004 in Forestville, Maryland. Getty Images

A high school sparked outrage from parents after it bound African-American students for a slavery reenactment project. The California-based school claimed the project would help students understand the terrors of enslavement.

A mother discovered black students at Whitney High School were going to be tied up during a student history project, CBS-affiliate KCBS reported Monday. She received an email from her son’s teacher that explained the project was a "unique classroom activity," which faculty intended to be a surprise. Staff would pretend to be slave ship captains, while students would act as slaves, the email read, according to KCBS.

Shardé Carrington, 31, who is African-American, received the email from her son’s teacher Sept. 5 with "Unique Learning Experience" in the subject field.

"In order to help students understand the psychological impact of slavery on Africans brought over to this country, all of us do a simulation activity in our classes that tries to recreate the voyage that slaves went on across the Atlantic Ocean, on their way to the new world," the email read. "We will be acting as slave ship captains and your son/daughter will be pretending to be a slave."

"Specifically, when class starts, we will sternly tell them to line up outside the classroom, use masking tape to 'tie' their wrists together, make them lay on the ground inside the room (which will be dark) shoulder to shoulder with each other (boys and girls are in separate rows), and then while they lay there, have them watch a clip from 'Roots,'" the email continued.

Whitney High School is a public school located in Cerritos. The school has about 1,000 students: 70 percent are Asian, 4 percent are white and 2 percent are black, according to population database City-Data.

"As the mother of a black child, I feared that my son’s participation would lead him to experience trauma, perhaps at the cellular level, and have a visceral reaction of anger and fear during the exercise itself," Carrington told Huffington Post of the incident.

She said she wasn't sure why faculty approved such a lesson and worried about how it would affect her son. She shared the reenactment on Facebook which disturbed fellow parents. Despite parent complaints, the lesson occurred last week and involved students from three different classes. The school had apparently practiced the lesson for 10 years.

"The teachers promised no psychological harm would be inflicted, but you cannot predict how anyone will respond to being bound in the dark and viewing traumatic images," Carrington told Huffington Post. "In a world where trigger warnings are becoming commonplace, to send an unwitting child to school to participate in a cruel activity such as this is just wrong for anyone."

School staff announced Monday that it pulled the lesson from campus, according to KCBS. LaMonica Bryson, a Whitney High English teacher, agreed with the school’s decision to discontinue the reenactment.

"I think there are other ways to teach tolerance and maybe even better ways and best practices to broach these sensitive topics," Bryson said.

The school’s incident comes amid online conversation this week regarding racial insensitivity after white university president Randolph Lowry apologized when black students became outraged over cotton stalk centerpieces displayed in his household during a dinner gathering in Michigan.