Great Hearts Monte Vista Middle School in San Antonio, Texas, has become the center of controversy after handing out a homework assignment to its 8th graders which asks them to list the "positive aspects" and "negative aspects" of slavery. The homework sheet is entitled "The Lives of Slaves: A Balanced View." A furious parent took a picture of the assignment and posted it to Twitter, where it quickly went viral.
At least the student answered correctly:
Aaron Kindel, superintendent of Great Harts, issued a statement on Facebook regarding the incident:
The statement, which apologizes for the "very inappropriate" worksheet, concludes:
We fully intend to make sure something like this does not happen again and will keep parents posted as we address this issue further.
While the school "collects all the facts," the teacher who assigned the worksheet has been placed on leave. Kindel also said teachers and administrators would be meeting with "impacted students to explain the mistake[.]"
Sorry, I can't tonight, I have to list ‘positives’ and ‘negatives’ of slavery— Excuses 4 Free (@FreeExcuses) April 20, 2018
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), who represents Grand Hearts Monte Vista's district, reportedly contacted the parents who posted the worksheet and requested a copy. The congressman commented to The Daily Beast:
...asking students to complete such an assignment challenges the reality that slavery was utterly dehumanizing. It is also an affront to the basic idea of human liberty.
He also claimed the school "should do a full review of its history curriculum and those who teach it."
Needless to say, Twitter users are not pleased.
This was an assignment no child should have been asked to do. Hopefully the parties involved will learn their lesson.