Why are some educators out of touch when it comes to teaching about this country’s racist history? Recently, news surfaced about a California high school where White teachers thought it was a good idea to re-enact the slave trade, including duct taping a Black student’s hands together.
Now, news has been circulation on social media about an Irmo, South Carolina elementary school teacher who asked her students to image themselves as Klansmen shortly after the Civil War.
WLTX-TV reports that Lexington-Richland School District Five placed that fifth-grade teacher on administrative leave.
A school district statement, via the CBS News affiliate, said school officials are “taking this matter very seriously.” The school district is investigating the incident and promised to keep families informed about its findings and next steps.
News of the assignment question first appeared on social media and spread rapidly among parents with children who attend Oak Pointe Elementary.
A question asked the fifth-graders to imaging being a member of the KKK and to justify racism and bigotry.
“South Carolina standards for 5th grade require lessons on Reconstruction and discriminatory groups including the KKK,” the school district’s statement said. “We must teach the standard, but we are taking steps to ensure this particular assignment will never be used again in District Five schools.”
The district said “events taking place in our country” impacts how it views the assignment. That’s perhaps a reference to the normalization of White supremacy and hate crimes, which have been on the rise in the Trump era.