Homework Assignment Asks 4th Graders To Give 'Good Reasons' For Slavery

by Valerie Williams
Originally Published: 
Image via Facebook/Trameka Brown-Berry

A teacher asked students to list “good” reasons for slavery and one mom pushed back

In today’s absolutely WTF news, a mom shared an insanely offensive homework assignment given to her fourth grader. In it, students were asked to “give three good reasons for slavery and three bad reasons.”

Sadly, we’re not kidding.

The beyond racist and inappropriate worksheet instructed students at Our Redeemer Lutheran School to write the reasons down, and Trameka Brown-Berry’s son, Jerome, wasn’t having it. She shared his brilliant response on Facebook where it’s quickly gone viral. Her caption reads, “Does anyone else find my 4th grader’s homework offensive?”

Yes. Definitely.

The child wrote, “I feel there is no good reason for slavery. That’s why I did not write.”

His answer and Brown-Berry’s alerting the school to the gross assignment set off a series of events that ended in the school eventually apologizing. But not before some damage was done. “It’s highly offensive and insensitive. I was in shock. I couldn’t believe they sent something like that home,” Brown-Berry tells Fox6Now. “Not only was my son in an awful position, but the students who weren’t black — that’s what keeps racism going,” she says.

And she’s absolutely correct. If the idea of the assignment was to get children to understand why anyone in the time of slavery ever thought it was a good idea, the only acceptable response? Racism. That’s literally it. There’s no “good” reasons for slavery ever, in any era. End of story.

Fortunately, the school saw the error of their ways, and Brown-Berry speaking up ultimately had a positive impact. After talking with the school’s principal, she shared an update:

“Out of a very negative situation we were able to come together as a community and stand united in support. That is so beautiful, thank you,” she writes.

The mom explains that the school has agreed to every action item she requested including a verbal apology to students, an apology sent home to parents, the offensive assignment to be removed from current and future lessons, a notice sent home to parents to warn of future sensitive subjects being taught, and training for staff in cultural diversity/cultural competency to prevent this sort of incident in the future.

Brown-Berry sums up the experience at the end of her post. “The moral of the story is, the only way to teach our kids to stand up for their rights and respect is to model it. With all of your support I was able to give my child a personal life lesson about how change starts with you.”

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