A South Carolina teacher is under fire for an assignment containing a question that asked students to respond from the perspective of a Ku Klux Klan member.
“You are a member of the KKK. Why do you think your treatment of African Americans is justified,” the cringe-worthy question asked, according to The Root.
Making matters worse, the unnamed Oak Pointe Elementary School educator posed this question to fifth-graders, who are just barely reaching an age when they can begin to understand the complexity and sensitivity surrounding the history of racism in America.
Additionally, the nature of the question is completely inconsiderate of the black students in the classroom who were, literally, being asked to justify the mindset of a group who hates them for the color of their skin.
To say that this assignment was inappropriate would be an understatement.
Amid the backlash, the school district released a statement announcing that the teacher had been placed on administrative leave and promising to conduct an investigation into the issue.
“School District Five is taking this matter very seriously. We took immediate action to investigate once the concerns over the assignment were brought to our attention, and the teacher has been placed on administrative leave as part of our standard personnel investigation procedures. We have been in communication and will continue to be in communication with families to let them know our actions and next steps.
South Carolina standards for 5th grade require lessons on Reconstruction and discriminatory groups including the KKK. We must teach the standard, but we are taking steps to ensure this particular assignment will never be used again in District Five schools.
We understand the seriousness of this matter particularly in light of the events taking place in our country at this time. We want to ensure that our students, parents, staff and community know that we are giving this matter our full attention.”
While it's true that students need to learn about America's sordid past, this egregious question, prompting students to try to think like racists, only perpetuates the dangerous ideology that fueled our horrific history.
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