Over the years, the assignments given out in elementary schools have changed drastically. The basic aim of all schools at this point is "modernizing" their homework strategies so they can better equip students with knowledge of the world.
One mother was particularly upset with the assignment her son, who is a fourth-grader, came home with. She found the content of the homework offensive.
Trameka Brown-Berry, from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, is the mother of fourth-grader Jerome, a student at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church and School.
One day, Jerome returned from school with an unusual assignment that his teacher had given him to complete. When Jerome shared this assignment with his mother, she was shocked to see what the school might be trying to teach her child.
The question clearly asked the students to come up with any three bad reasons for slavery, and also three "good" ones. Trameka, after having glanced at the assignment, was outraged at the audacity of the teacher to have asked such a question.
Soon after, she posted a picture of the assignment, along with a short message, asking people if they were as outraged. “Does anyone else find my fourth-grader’s homework offensive?”
Plenty of people responded shortly after Trameka posted.
“Not only was this assignment offensive, it also minimizes the impact that slavery has had on Black people today. The faculty doesn’t just need culture training, they need an entire education,” commented one Facebook user.
Another added to this by saying that, “What was good about slavery? I think this assignment was badly worded by the teacher.”
While most of the commenters were horrified by the question in the homework, one of the comments tried to come up with a different angle.
One Twitter user explained that "good" is in quotations and "It's possible the question is asking kids to think critically about why a culture would have slavery and how it would be defended by those who did it. If appropriate class discussion accompanies it, it could be a good assignment.”
A lot of people had their own opinions on a critical issue as this, but the most surprising and beautiful reason came from the fourth-grader himself. Jerome, may be a young boy but he is already a kind, confident and outspoken.
Jerome wrote, “I feel there is no good reason for slavery.” For this, his mother was extremely proud of him.
Trameka, along with a group of supporters, contacted the school board to get the issue sorted out. A statement was released by the principal of the school, Principal Jim Van Dellen, who was apologetic that the assignment was so inappropriate.
“We understand that, as presented, the words used showed a lack of sensitivity and were offensive,” he explained to The Associated Press. “The purpose of this assignment was not, in any way, to have students argue that ANY slavery is acceptable -- a concept that goes against our core values and beliefs about the equality and worth of people of all races.”
“Out of a very negative situation we were able to come together as a community and stand united in support. That is so beautiful, thank you,” Trameka wrote after seeing the response.