A Tennessee school district apologized Thursday after a homework assignment requested that students imagine their “family owns slaves.”
Dr. Mike Looney, chief of Williamson County schools, called the task “uncaring” and “insensitive” and “wholly inappropriate,” in an expression of remorse he issued on Twitter.
“In short, the assignment was wholly inappropriate and doesn’t reflect our district’s commitment to treat all students with dignity and respect,” the announcement said.
The assignment, which managed issues of slavery, immigration and child work, was given to eighth grade social studies students at Sunset Middle School in Williamson County.
Some portion of the homework requested that students envision that their family claims slaves and after that “create a list of expectations” for those slaves, FOX17 Nashville revealed.
Family members of the students were surprised at the homework’s delicate topics.
Dan Fountain, sibling of a 13-year-old student in the class, told the Tennessean that the teacher neglected to clarify the task.
“It initially made me angry. The fact that my sister is one of a couple of black kids at her school, I can’t let things like this sit around and slide,” he said.
White students make up 70 percent of the school’s student body, the paper detailed.
“I don’t like the aspect that my sister is describing how she would be treated as a slave. It doesn’t benefit anyone,” Fountain said.
The school has since pulled the task and said it won’t be evaluated.
The teachers who assigned the homework additionally issued expressions of remorse to students and their families.