Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

'3 good reasons for slavery' homework assignment sparks

'3 good reasons for slavery' homework assignment sparks

Sometimes, there simply aren't two sides to every story, and that fact couldn't be more apparent than when a fourth-grade homework assignment asked students to write three "good reasons for slavery" alongside three bad reasons.

Principal Jim Van Dellen told the outlet that this was assignment was a mistake, though he declined to participate in an on camera interview.

Our Redeemer Lutheran School in Wauwatosa apologized Thursday in a letter to parents, agreeing that the homework assignment was racially offensive and "showed a lack of sensitivity", The Associated Press reported.

One mother was shocked to see the social studies assignment and contacted the school.

According to a report in the NBC-affiliated television station WKYC-TV, the freaky assignment was first noticed by Trameka Brown-Berry, the mother of Jerome Berry, a fourth-grader studying at the school.


Trameka Brown-Berry, a graduate student in nursing at Alverno College, posted on Facebook, "Does anyone else find my fourth-grader's homework offensive?" with a picture of her son Jerome's assignment.

Later Brown-Berry posted a message, saying that she had spoken to the school principal and that the teacher apologized to the class. It prompted an apology from the principal of Our Redeemer Lutheran School, who said the question wasn't supposed to have an answer because there are no good reasons for slavery. The 9-year-old also finished the assignment by saying, "I am proud to be black because we are strong and courageous". "That's what keeps racism going", Brown-Berry said. "With all of your support I was able to give my child a personal life lesson about how change starts with you". This did not play well with at least one parent and her son, according to a Fox 6 Now report.

He said the assignment was meant to initiate a debate, however given the extensive backlash it is no longer part of the curriculum.

"The objective of the assignment was not, in any way, to have students argue that slavery is acceptable", he wrote in a letter to parents.

She also said the teachers must be trained in "cultural diversity/cultural competency inservice to prevent this from happening again". He wouldn't say whether the teacher who handed out the assignment is being disciplined.

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