A Missouri teacher was placed on administrative leave Monday, Dec. 9, after asking students to set a price on slaves. The question was part of an assignment given to fifth graders at Blades Elementary School in St. Louis.
One of the 12 questions read as follows:
A friend of mine’s child brought this home from Blades Elementary School, 5th grade. It is so wrong on so many…
Angela Walker, the mother of a biracial child, said she was shocked to find the question among her son’s school work.
“We can say get over a homework assignment. It’s just a homework assignment. That was 100 years ago,” Walker said. “It was but it’s still someone else’s family. Maybe there are people who don’t see the wrong in it, but we need to be talking about it.”
Blades Elementary School principal Jeremy Booker said the assignment asked students to consider how plantation owners traded for goods and slaves.
“The assignment was culturally insensitive,” he said. “The teacher has expressed significant remorse.”
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has called for a formal apology from the teacher and superintendent and said there’s a need for “some serious and immediate implicit bias, cultural bias, cultural difference training.”
“I am working with district leadership to provide all Blades teachers and staff with professional development on cultural bias in the near future,” Booker said.