A Lexington, Kentucky high school teacher is under fire for distributing an assignment all about the N-word.
The worksheet included seven statements using the racial epithet. Students were asked to indicate whether they “agree” or “disagree” with each statement and explain their reasoning.
Each question, however, had the word spelled out and uncensored. Some of the statements included, “It is acceptable for a black person to say “N***er” and “It is acceptable for a white/non-black person to say “N***er.”
According to The Root, Bryne Jacobs — Lafayette High School’s principal — claimed the assignment was meant to address controversial language that students would be seeing in the book “To Kill A Mockingbird,” which they were going to begin reading.
“Everyone kind of laughed; it was a nervous laugh, and then we kind of sat there and asked each other, ‘Did this really happen?’” said Kiarah Raglin, a freshman who was given the assignment in English class.
Raglin said the worksheet made many students, including her, uncomfortable. She showed the assignment to her mom, who reportedly became outraged.
“I felt sorry for her to be in this classroom with a predominantly white classroom with a Caucasian teacher standing over her, using these words over and over. These are not words that we use in our home. These are not words that we use—everybody likes to say—‘your music.’ These are not words that my child is accustomed to,” said Andrea Raglin, Kiarah’s mother.
Raglin’s mother clarified that while she isn’t against the school’s teaching of the classic novel, she feels there are more positive, appropriate, and inclusive ways to teach about the social issues the story addresses.
“The whole entire point of the book was missed because of this assignment and seven questions specifically on this word, as opposed to other parts of the book that should’ve been discussed as well,” Raglin’s mom said.
Principal Jacobs said the administration was not aware of the assignment until it became a viral issue.
“We were embarrassed by the assignment because we know many of our students and community members are offended. I, myself, am offended by the particular assignment as well,” Jacobs reportedly said.
It seems that the unnamed teacher acted with pure intentions. It was a good idea to brace her students for the type of content they were about to be introduced to, but her execution totally missed the mark.
Furthermore, the teacher ignored that there are other pertinent matters presented in the book, such as rape, that deserve special attention and should be handled with sensitivity and tact — which are both traits her N-word assignment lacked.
According to Jacobs, the teacher has apologized to students for the incident, but there is no confirmation on whether or not she faced disciplinary action from the school.
Banner Photo Credit: Wikipedia, John Guthrie