Sunday, September 20, 2020

Teacher placed on leave for assigning students to “pretend you are a black slave” in controversial assignment

An Iowa City teacher has been placed on leave for assigning students to “pretend you are a black slave.”

The controversial assignment asked students to pretend they were enslaved and asked what they would do if they were freed.

“Think very, very carefully about what your life would be like as a slave in 1865. You can’t read or write and you have never been off the plantation you work on. What would you do when you hear the news you are free? What factors would play into the decision you make?” the assignment read, according to the Iowa City Press Citizen.

One high school parent said her daughter was so upset about the assignment she couldn’t bring herself to complete it.

“She’s, like, ‘Mom, that makes me so uncomfortable.’ She just starts tearing up. And I was, like, ‘No, listen, you don’t have to be ashamed of who you are.’ I said, ‘You are beautiful for who you are. Don’t let not one soul make you uncomfortable for who you are,'” Dibny Gamez, mother to 14-year-old daughter, Ayesha, told the paper:

Gamez said there are other ways to teach children about race, adding: “The way it is in 2020 right now, when it comes to race, you have to be very careful of what you can say and not say.”

The assignment has been removed and the teacher, part of the district’s online learning program, was placed on leave.

“The assignment was inappropriate” and the district “does not support and will not tolerate this type of instruction,” Iowa City Community School District spokesperson Kristin Pedersen told the Press Citizen.

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