A class assignment at a Missouri elementary school asking pupils to set their price for a slave has caused a furious backlash leading to the teacher’s administrative leave and the NAACP demanding a formal apology from the school.
Fifth grade students at a Mehlville, Missouri, school were asked to tackle questions on free market economics and how to set prices.
ABC17 reports that the pupils were asked to set prices for 12 different things: lumber, tar, wool, milk, etc.
But the final thing on the list sparked outrage.
“You own a plantation or farm and therefore need more workers,” the question asked. “You begin to get involved in the slave trade industry and have slaves work on your farm. Your product to trade is___________ slaves. Set your price for a slave. These could be worth a lot.”
Speaking to KMOV, the school’s principal, Jeremy Booker, said: “The assignment was culturally insensitive… The teacher has expressed significant remorse.”
Booker was prompted out of the incident to send a letter to parents attempting to explain the assignment and what following steps will be taken because of it.
Booker went onto say: “The school district is continuing to investigate this event.
“I am working with district leadership to provide all Blades teachers and staff with professional development on cultural bias in the near future.”
One student’s mother, Angela Walker, whose child is biracial said: “We have to be more culturally sensitive. We can say get over a homework assignment. It’s just a homework assignment. That was 100 years ago.
“It was but it’s still someone else’s family. Maybe there are people who don’t see the wrong in it but we need to be talking about it.”
Walker hopes the school and its staff will learn from its faux-pas.
Apart from demanding a formal apology, the NAACP has offered to intervene and assist in retraining the school’s staff.