Second-graders at Windsor Hills Elementary School in View Park-Windsor Hills, California, were recently given a homework assignment that involved math and slaves (video below).
"I was very shocked," Kelly Gray, a parent of a 7-year-old girl, told KNBC.
The grammatically-flawed math assignment was given to students during Black History Month:
The master needed 192 slaves to work on [the] plantation in the cotton fields. The fields could fill 75 bags of cotton. Only 96 slaves were able to pick cotton for that day. The missus needed them in the Big House to [prepare] for the Annual Picnic. How many more slaves are needed in the cotton fields?
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The second grader's grandmother Karole Gray stated: "Although it has racial undertones, I feel the worst undertone is, 'What are we teaching our children?'"
"We just took a million steps backwards," Kelly added.
"Someone could have said, 'No. This is impossible. Are we really giving this assignment?'" Karole stated.
Kelly mentioned another assignment that involved a man mailing himself to freedom.
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In response to the controversy, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Michelle King released a statement:
L.A. Unified is committed to providing a safe, welcoming, nurturing and secure learning environment for our students. All employees are expected to treat students with respect. The District takes this matter seriously, is investigating it and will take appropriate administrative measures.
Karole didn't think the assignment was intentionally cruel: "I don’t believe anybody intentionally was being malicious, but nobody was being cautious."
An assignment at Scotsdale Elementary School in El Paso, Texas, stirred outrage last week after sixth-graders were asked to determine if some statements were opinions or facts, noted KFOX.
The statements included stereotypes such as: "Black people eat chicken" and "Asians are small people."
The Ysleta Independent School district responded with a statement:
Our teachers are provided the academic freedom to choose the instructional materials for their assignments; however, this academic freedom sometimes results in assignments that are insensitive or inappropriate.
The language in this particular assignment is not in any way condoned by the Ysleta Independent School District. This incident is now an internal personnel matter, and it will be handled administratively by the district.