A fifth-grade teacher in Irmo, South Carolina, has been suspended after the instructor asked students to imagine they were members of the Ku Klux Klan.
Columbia, South Carolina, station WACH-TV is reporting that the unidentified teacher at Oak Pointe Elementary School assigned students this question: “You are a member of the KKK. Why do you think your treatment of African Americans is justified?”
Another question asked: “You are a freedman. Are you satisfied with your new life? Why or why not?”
After news about the insensitive assignment spread, Lexington-Richland School District 5 released this statement to media:
“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.”
The school district has not said how long its investigation might take.
Sadly, racially insensitive class assignments aren’t uncommon.
In March, students in South Orange, New Jersey, were given an assignment suggesting that they recreate slave auction posters as part of a Colonial America history lesson.