Parents of third grade students at Beaver Ridge Elementary School, Norcross, were outraged after their children brought home a math worksheet featuring questions such as “Each tree had 56 oranges. If eight slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?”
They were also asked, “If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in one week?”
Christopher Braxton, whose eight-year-old son was given the worksheet, told WSB-TV he was “furious” when he read the homework.
“Something like this shouldn’t be imbedded into a kid of the third, fourth, fifth, any grade,” another parent, Terrance Barnett, added. “I’m having to explain to my eight year old why slavery or slaves or beatings are in a math problem. That hurts.”
School district officials said teachers who wrote the paper were not trying to offend anyone but were just trying to incorporate history into the math lesson.
“Clearly, they did not do as good of a job as they should have done,” district spokeswoman Sloan Roach told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It was just a poorly written question.”
Beaver Ridge’s principal Jose DeJesus promised to offer more training for staff and help teachers come up with more appropriate questions.
But parents said the school has not gone far enough and are calling for an apology and diversity training for teachers and officials.
“I think the teachers should be reprimanded for using that poor judgment, and an apology should be made,” community activist Jennifer Falk said. “But the bigger question is how could something like this happen?”
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