Slavery Examples Used In Georgia School Worksheet Upsets … Parents of students at Beaver Ridge Elementary School in Norcross, Ga.
A Georgia school insisted today there was no “maliciousness” intended when a third grade math quiz asked students to compute the number of beatings a slave got a week and to calculate how many baskets of cotton he picked.
But the Gwinnett County School District has launched an investigation to determine how the offending questions made it onto the students’ homework sheets. The math homework assignment was given to more than 100 students at Beaver Ridge Elementary school in Norcross, Ga., as part of a social studies lesson, Gwinnett County school officials said. The assignment outraged parents, community activists and members of the Georgia NAACP.
Sloan Roach, a Gwinnett County school district spokeswoman, told ABCNews.com that the students were studying famous Americans and as an attempt to create a cross-curricular worksheet, one teacher used Frederick Douglass and slavery beatings for two of the questions.
Although only one teacher wrote out the controversial questions, another teacher made copies of the assignment and it was distributed to four out of nine third grade classes at Beaver Ridge, Roach said. The school is not publicly naming any of the teachers who are suspected to be involved.
One math problem question read, “If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in one week?”
Another asked how many baskets of cotton Frederick filled.
Roach said she agreed that the questions were inappropriate and part of the investigation would be to “make sure teachers are writing questions that are appropriate and respective,” but wouldn’t speculate on what sort of action would be taken against the teachers involved or whether district teachers would be required to have additional training.
“It does not seem there was any intent of maliciousness here, it was just a teacher who wrote some bad questions,” she said. “This was an isolated case involving these teachers at this school and at this grade level.”
The NAACP has stepped up its call for the teacher’s dismissal. “The superintendent said it was an honest mistake,” said Ed DuBose, state NAACP president. “But there is no scenario in which I think that a teacher should have developed questions that inflammatory. That teacher should have no future in the teaching profession. Our position is that teacher and the teachers who distributed the questions should be fired. Five teachers made the right decision not to distribute them.”