NORFOLK (AP) — A Norfolk school principal has apologized for a classroom activity last week in which a teacher staged a mock auction of Black and mixed-race students as part of a Civil War history lesson.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that Sewells Point Elementary School Principal Mary B. Wrushen wrote the students’ parents this week to say that while the teacher’s actions were well-intended, “the activity presented was inappropriate for the students.” She said the activity was not supported by the school or division.

Division spokeswoman Elizabeth Thiel Mather said the teacher separated Black and mixed-race fourth-graders from their White classmates and auctioned them. She said the division was taking “appropriate personnel action.”

Wrushen declined to comment Friday and the teacher, Jessica Boyle, did not return a call to the school, the newspaper reported.