A number of parents are disappointed and surprised by a homework assignment given Madison Heights middle school students nonchalantly dealing with slavery, Fox 2 News reported.
Christian Handyside’s 13-year-old son, attending John Page Middle School, worked on a social studies class assignment called “A Crash Course in Slavery,” the article reported
A question read, “If a slave could clean and process five pounds of cotton a day, how much could one clean and process with a cotton gin?”
Another question asked, “If an enslaver could produce 200 pounds of cotton a day with eight slaves and a cotton gin, how many more slaves would he have to buy to produce 500 pounds of cotton a day?”
Handyside reached out to her son’s teacher after looking at the assignment.
“My initial reaction, I said, ‘What the F?'” she said in the Fox 2 News article. “I have to make sure that my Black son is getting the right education, not miseducation and hearing insensitive ways about slavery. I have to speak up.”
In an email, the teacher reported, “This is one of the most volatile content areas of our state curriculum, and for 14 years, I’ve handled this area with the most concern of any topic we cover. I always make sure to stress the notion that it (slavery) was INHUMANE, UNNECESSARY, and ARCHAIC.”
“I think about the 14 years we’ve had young minds maligned, having young minds talk about slavery in such casual ways, in terms of a mathematical problem,” Attorney Todd Perkins said in the article.
Perkins was with Handyside when she met with district administrators on Monday. They’ want Lamphere Schools to give a public apology and produce an action plan for changing the way they teach slavery, the article reported.
“This lesson plan needs to be burned and destroyed immediately. Reconstructed. Whatever expense it is,” Perkins said in the story.
The district sent a letter to parents. It reads:
“A part of the lesson was an attempt to demonstrate the impact of economic conditions including slaves and the impact of technology on the era. The questions posed and choice of supporting materials were insensitive and inappropriate and the content was immediately removed.”
The district released another statement that said:
“The Lamphere Schools is committed to providing a supportive, caring, respectful and inclusive environment for all members of our school community. We were made aware of the situation and are addressing it. We have met with the family and are working collaboratively to ensure that we continue to grow and learn from this unfortunate situation. We sincerely apologize for any hurt that was caused.”