South Carolina

For homework, a teacher told 5th-graders to imagine ‘you are a member of the KKK’

A South Carolina elementary school teacher is on administrative leave after she asked students to role play as Ku Klux Klan members after the Civil War for a homework assignment.

The teacher, from Oak Pointe Elementary in Lexington, gave students an assignment that read “You are there... You are a member of the KKK. Why do you think your treatment of African-Americans is justified?"

Students were provided a blank space to write an answer, according to WLTX19. Students were also asked to pretend they were newly-freed slaves — and tasked with answering the question “Are you satisfied with your new life? Why or why not?”

Tremain Cooper said his nephew was assigned the controversial homework and posted a picture of it on Facebook last week, according to USA Today.

“This is my little 10-year-old nephew's homework assignment today,” he wrote. “He's home crying right now.”

Lexington-Richland School District 5 issued a statement about the homework, saying it is “taking this matter very seriously.”

“We took immediate action to investigate once the concerns over the assignment were brought to our attention, and the teacher has been placed on administrative leave as part of our standard personnel investigation procedures,” the statement reads.

It continued: “South Carolina standards for 5th grade require lessons on Reconstruction and discriminatory groups including the KKK. We must teach the standard, but we are taking steps to ensure this particular assignment will never be used again in District Five schools.”

Despite the apology, Cooper said he hopes the incident can spark positive change for more racial inclusion.

“All of the administrators agreed the assignment was wrong and unacceptable,” he wrote on Facebook. “Oakpoint [sic] is a predominantly white school with mostly white faculty and staff, maybe this will lead to more black inclusion. It's only right.”

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