CSLA parents concerned about controversial school homework assignment
It was a worksheet that asked students at Chattanooga School for Liberal Arts (CSLA) to select someone who looked like a thief. Third graders had to choose who looked more like a thief, an African American rapper or a Caucasian woman in a suit.
Hamilton County school administrators are responding to parents who say a homework assignment crossed the line.
It was a worksheet that asked students at Chattanooga School for Liberal Arts (CSLA) to select someone who looked like a thief.
Third graders had to choose who looked more like a thief, an African American rapper or a Caucasian woman in a suit.
The school system says the exercise was intended to help students recognize stereotypes and avoid them.
The instructions say, "One of these people is a thief, the other is a school teacher. Which do you think is which? Give your reasons. Then read the story on the back of the page."
Students chose between a woman dressed in a pants suit and a picture of rapper Wiz Khalifa.
Multiple parents reached out to Channel 3 saying the assignment perpetuates the stereotype that black men are criminals.
Tim Hensley with the Hamilton County Department of Education says the focus of the lesson was to encourage children to think about the ways people are stereotyped and to show how inaccurate those perceptions can be in reality.
Hensley also said a few parents attended the lesson and were impressed with the third graders and their responses.
Hensley added that seeing pictures of the assignment out of context could be seen as adding to the problem of stereotyping. He says the use of discussion materials in the future will be screened.
The homework was a part of the Socratic Seminar. It is only taught by teachers who are trained to lead the seminar.