*A Wisconsin school has apologized for giving students an “insensitive” homework assignment that asked fourth grade students to “List three good reasons for slavery, and three bad ones.”
The parent of a Black student took issue with the assignment; and placed it on Facebook, calling it offensive.
It was then that Our Redeemer Lutheran School in Wauwatosa drew up a statement addressing the incident and agreeing that the assignment was indeed “offensive.”
The statement read, “Our Redeemer regrets deeply an unjustifiable assignment on slavery earlier this week,” Principal Jim Van Dellen said in a statement to the Associated Press on Thursday. The statement went on to say that the church and school “work hard to promote the human dignity of all people, and this assignment did not reflect our core values or practices.”
The parent who brought the issue to the forefront is Trameka Brown-Berry, and the reason the school gave her for issuing the assignment could actually make sense if it wasn’t so downright insensitive.
Brown-Berry said the school wanted children to think about why white people thought it was a good idea at one time to own slaves.
Now here is where you will get mad at me!
It’s actually an interesting question, and I don’t really see anything wrong with the intent. It’s how the question was posedThe teacher would have probably gotten away with it, had she asked the question this way.
The parent appears to feel the same way.
Brown-Berry said it’s good for students to learn about slavery but that the assignment’s question was shocking.
“You wouldn’t ask someone to list three good reasons for rape or three good reasons for the Holocaust,” she said.
Seeing her 9-year-old son, Jerome, struggling with his homework assignment and “looking is how Brown-Berry learned about the question. She posted a picture of the assignment online Monday evening. She noticed he had already listed bad reasons for slavery — “making them do your chores,” splitting up families and “punishing them.”
He made sure to mention he is proud to be black.
When he told his mother he couldn’t think of any good reasons for slavery, she told him to just write what he feels. It was then that he wrote, “I feel there is no good reason for slavery that’s why I did not write.”
The principal tells the Associated Press they “are working with the African-American community to guide our educational goals and create important dialogues in our church and school.”