In a surprising twist, the Beaver Ridge Elementary School teacher who used examples of slavery in math equations has quit, a Gwinnett County Schools spokesperson confirmed Wednesday.
Sloan Roach, the same official who defended the assignment as merely “bad” questions and had quite a bit to say about the situation when the story made national headlines last Friday, has been given a new song to sing by the school district:
The principal will move forward immediately to fill the vacancy created by this resignation, Roach said in a statement. As this is a personnel matter, the district will not elaborate further.
A teacher created the racially insensitive questions that were used in four classrooms. After an unexpected uproar from parents and activists in the community, the district decided to finally do their job and conduct an investigation that concluded Thursday.
The racist nature of the questions were shocking to some, because 88 percent of students at Beaver Ridge are either Black or Hispanic. The school also has a multicultural staff that reflects their student body, reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
We are working to ensure that this does not happen again, said Beaver Ridge Principal Jose DeJesus on the school’s website.
Even though public school textbooks go through extensive review, it seems as if the more mundane task of checking behind teachers for “cultural sensitivity” often gets lost in the shuffle of the day.
Calvine Rollins, president of the Georgia Association of Educators, says that teachers are under a lot of pressure and it’s easy for them to miss things:
Teachers are under the gun to do a whole lot. Sometimes, assignments get pushed out without a glance.
The AJC reports that this is not the first time that racially tinged questions have made their way into Georgia’s curriculum.
Last school year, a third-grade teacher at Chesney Elementary in Gwinnett assigned a reading packet that contained the story “What Is an Illegal Alien?” It had not been reviewed first.
In September, Cobb County students were asked to write about dress codes and read a fictional two-page letter written by a 20-year-old Saudi Arabian woman who spoke approvingly of her fiance’s multiple wives and the law of Sharia.”
Neither of these assignments had undergone review.
While Rollins hypothesizes that teachers are “under the gun,” that does not suffice as an explanation for the blatant disregard shown by four so-called “educators” in distributing insensitive racial information to 8-year-olds devoid of any context or frame of reference.
How callous is it to throw out numbers without giving voice to the the enormity of the subjugation that African slaves faced? How absolutely heinous is it to have children count beatings in their head, diminishing African people to mere human chattel in 2012?
If we’re going to talk about math, let’s talk about all the wealth that was stolen from future generations of the African-American community during slavery, where every back-breaking second, minute, and hour of work translated into profits for white America while our families were beaten, murdered, raped, and torn apart.
If African Americans were allowed to accumulate wealth during slavery, would we still face the highest levels of poverty and unemployment in the country? Why aren’t our future leaders examining that mathematical equation?
While it is a good thing that the teacher resigned, it is unfortunate that he or she was allowed to do so anonymously, with their dignity intact.
Clearly, they were not concerned with the dignity of the students entrusted to their care.
The office staff at Beaver Ridge Elementary were not authorized to answer any questions concerning this matter when contacted by NewsOne, nor were they able to confirm the fate of the three other teachers that used the questions. NewsOne also left a message for Spokesperson Sloan Roach, who had not returned our call by press time.