A black mother in Austin, Texas, was shocked to learn that her 12-year-old daughter, along with other students, was asked to draw herself as a slave as part of a class assignment.
Tonya Jennings said her daughter came home with an American Civil War lesson assignment that required her to draw a picture of herself as a slave in the 1850s. The racist assignment also instructed the students to color the drawings they make and to explain what they would smell, hear, see, taste and touch if they were a slave.
The mother added she failed to understand the educational value of the assignment and said the teacher failed to put the reason behind the assignment across.
“I realized I had to explain to her what this meant or what they were trying to get to. And then I realized I didn’t know what they were trying to get to or what they were trying to do,” said Jennings.
She added, “It is completely out of place. It just doesn’t even go with the packet at all. To ask my child to put herself in a situation where she has to draw herself as a slave was an issue just, you know, all the way up the board.”
Jennings also plans to meet school leaders to come up with better ways to teach students about slavery during the Civil War.
After the issue was highlighted by the concerned mother, the school released a statement clarifying their stance.
“A parent contacted Four Points Middle School earlier today with a concern about a Texas history lesson regarding the Civil War and the role of slavery. The campus quickly responded to the parent to hear his concerns and discuss the situation. When teaching sensitive content, we strive to deliver lessons with care and context to our students,” the statement read.
It added, “The tragic impacts of slavery are well documented and relevant to our state and nation’s history. The state curriculum for seventh-grade history expects students to explain reasons for Texas’ involvement in the Civil War, including states' rights, slavery, sectionalism and tariffs. The state also asks students to be able to identify points of view from the historical context surrounding an event and the frame of reference that influenced the participants.”
All of that sounds good. But the lack of common sense to carry out those lessons is shocking.
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