Yikes, it looks like this teacher needs to rethink her assignment choices. Why? Well, this class assignment caused a Missouri teacher to be put on administrative leave and has the NAACP calling for a formal apology. According to ABC, the incident occurred at Blades Elementary School in Oakville, Missouri. Fifth-graders were asked to do a homework assignment, which made them set prices for different things and reflect on the topics of free-market economy and wealth.
Students set prices for 12 different things, including tar, wool, milk, lumber, etc. However, the last item on the page asked students to set a price for quite a different topic than the first 11, which included them to be plantation owners. The question read, “You own a plantation or farm and therefore need more workers. You begin to get involved in the slave trade industry and have slaves work on your farm. Your product to trade is slaves. Set your price for a slave. These could be worth a lot.”
According to principal Jeremy Booker, the assignment was more than culturally insensitive and the teacher has expressed significant remorse. Booker sent a letter to parents explaining the school work, and the steps that had been taken to rectify the situation and to keep it from happening again.
“The school district is continuing to investigate this event. I am working with district leadership to provide all Blades teachers and staff with professional development on cultural bias in the near future.”
The NAACP called for a formal apology from the Mehlville School District had offered to help train school staff if needed.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the only teacher who has been in trouble for a similar situation. Back in March, a Tennessee school district also issued an apology for a social studies assignment that asked students to pretend to be slave owners. They were asked to brainstorm expectations for their slaves.
According to the Williamson County Schools and Sunsets Middle school, the homework also assigned tasks including the creation of political cartoons depicting immigrants labor in the United States and writing a public service announcement about the hazards of living in several urban areas. The two elementary school teachers who assigned the homework quickly apologized after the incident.