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Tennessee school apologizes for asking students to pretend to own slaves

A Tennessee school district has issued an apology for a social studies assignment that asked students to pretend to be slave-owners and brainstorm expectations for their slaves. The Tennessean reported Thursday that Williamson County Schools and Sunset Middle School apologized for the assignment, saying it was inappropriate.

A man whose 13-year-old sister was given the assignment posted it to Twitter. “It initially made me angry,” Dan Fountain told the newspaper. “The fact that my sister is one of a couple of black kids at her school, I can’t let things like this sit around and slide.”

The assignment also included other tasks such as the creation of a political cartoon depicting immigrant labor in the U.S. and writing a public service announcement about the hazards of living in urban areas. The two teachers who assigned the homework also apologized, saying in a statement that the assignment has been pulled and won’t be graded.

“We have and will be apologizing to our students,” teachers Kim Best and Susan Hooper said in the statement, according to the Tennessean. “It was never our intention to hurt any of our students.”

Williamson County Schools Superintendent Mike Looney also apologized. “The assignment was wholly inappropriate and doesn’t reflect our district’s commitment to treat all students with dignity and respect,” Looney said in a statement he posted to Twitter.

The Tennessee Department of Education said the middle school is 70 percent white.

Author: CBS/AP
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