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A fourth-grade homework assignment in Milwaukee, Wisconsin has raised eyebrows across social media for its egregious task.

USA Today reports that the assignment asked students to write three good reasons for slavery and three bad reasons.

Trameka Brown-Berry went to Facebook to share the assignment to see if other people found it as offensive as she did. Her son, Jerome Berry is a fourth grader that attends Our Redeemer Lutheran School where the assignment was given.

Once it hit Facebook, it immediately went viral with people calling the assignment offensive, wrong and insensitive.

Jim Van Dellen, a school administrator at Our Redeemer Lutheran School, stated in a phone interview that the assignment was an, “unintentionally, poorly worded assignment” and that the school is now, “in active conversations with parents.”

Letters of apology were sent out by the school to the families of the students issued by email.

In a separate Facebook post, Brown-Berry explained that Van Dellen from the school apologized and addressed her concerns.

In a response letter by Van Dellen and Andrew Steinke the principal senior pastor of the school stated:

On behalf of Our Redeemer Lutheran School, we sincerely apologize for the fact that an assignment given to a fourth-grade class yesterday was not clearly explained to students and their parents.

The result was a strong call to action to address the situation. We understand that, as presented, the words used showed a lack of sensitivity and were offensive.The purpose of the assignment was not, in any way, to have students argue that ANY slavery is acceptable — a concept that goes against our core values and beliefs about the equality and worth of people of all races. …

This particular assignment is no longer a part of our curriculum and we are committed to working with our families and our teachers.

“Out of a very negative situation, we were able to take (action) to resolve this issues. That is so beautiful. Thank you,” responded Brown-Berry.



(Source: USA Today )

(Photo Credit: ThinkStock Images)

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20 thoughts on “Milwaukee School Issues Apology After Racist Homework Assignment

  1. JJeffery Muhammad on said:

    One of the most important questions that anyone can ask is “WHY”. I will not get involved in any cheap exchanges but we , as a People, and I do mean Black People, need to study the pathological nature of the European psyche BEFORE we get upset. Viruses, wolves and rattlesnakes lack the Human capacity to question their own actions. and we would be guilty
    of wasting a bunch of time in a reactionary mode, if we just cannot see that we are dealing with a group of sociopaths. The ENTIRE IDEA of WHITE SUPREMACY must be perpetuated and accepted by those who subjugated by them. The REAL tragic irony, in my humble view, is that this type of psychosis (slavery, colonialism, imperialism, etc.) is being taught to our Black babies as “normal” behaviors that EVERYONE does.” COMPLETE AND TOTAL SEPARATION is the Best and ONLY solution.

  2. I’ve still yet to see a classroom project the asks whites the question “If you had a choice, would you come back to this world as a Black person or a white person?” Let’s see that response.

  3. Brien E. Chatman on said:

    Where does it stop? We need to be able to talk about our opinions. History should be discuss in the classroom. White people don’t want us too because it makes them look bad. Right or wrong,we are not in a world that racism is no longer around, if you believe that, where are you? Talk about it, don’t hide it. They are more than 3 good reason & a lot more, why not

    • Cricket Girl on said:

      Please study our “American History” the country is still suffering from the sin of slavery! If you don’t know our history, how can you effectively teach it? The lies that were shared in the text books over the years do not contain truth. Even the fire department in the state of Indiana was still segregated until 1973-74!

  4. KINGIIII on said:

    Don’t see it as intentional racism, but I think more thought should have went into the assignment. Everyone is so sensitive these days , probably best to stick with Mary Had A Little Lamb…!!!!

  5. Christianforreal on said:

    I beg to differ, Mac Daddy and Tim Green. You both sound like adults, using your reasoning skills, why don’t you two write reports on positive and negative aspects of SLAVERY, the buying and selling of HUMANS BEING for the pleasure and use of any race of people. I, as an adult, much more versed than a Middle School child, know no good reasons for one race or class of people to own another class or race or people. Who sold whom is irrelevant. What is important is that there were NO GOOD reason to own slaves. God gave us all we needed for life and liberty and it did not include enslaving another to achieve those goals. Yes, there are many who constantly defend ides such as these, however there weren’t any good reasons for the enslaving, beating, buying and selling of any people. This was done out of the ignorance and laziness of people. It was done because of the arrogance of one people who felt superior to another and I, for one see no GOOD reason for it.

    • Tim Green on said:

      Christian you COMPLETELY overlooked what i said whether intentionally or unintentionally, the fact that there was nooo good in slavery ISNT THE POINT, from an educational & learning standpoint being able to see construct an argument & find points to justify & IMPARTIALLY defend the indefensible is a way to expand your mind & reasoning & understanding beyond the simplistic emotional thought process of “slavery bad, anybody who was involved in slavery evil” … many people involved in the slave trade convinced themselves or were convinced by others that it was and even a good thing, looking back at it from a 2018 mindset that sounds insane to many WHICH JUSTIFIES THE ENTIRE POINT OF ASSIGNMENTS LIKE THIS .. BUT BUT BUT, this assignment definitely should not have been given to 4th graders, most adults cant even intelligently participate & debate topics such as this

  6. My Question is this !! Why do African American students have to defend or explain SLAVERY was pure EVIL…America celebrates slave owners and call then GREAT Americans..we have statues and monuments …Andrew Jackson , George Washington ect….we called them Great .BUT we don’t require Jewish kids to honor Hitler..or any of the leaders of Germany during that evil time…What is GREAT about a person that owned slaves..if he was truly great he would have bought them then FREED them !!!!





  8. Tim Green on said:

    Good assignment, just aimed at the wrong grade .. Anyone who has attended a higher institute of education knows that assignments like this are done all the time defending something thats indefensible, Hitler, KKK, genocide, segregation … the point is to make you expand your thought process outside your normal safe boundaries … Terrible assignment for a fourth grade class though

    • Mac Daddy on said:

      Great points Tim. This assignment would be better suited for middle school. The goal of these things are develop critical thinking, formulating and articulating a educated response, being a good listener, having respect for others opinion, and cerebral debating skills. If you are only fed content that is vanilla or doesn’t inspire differing points of view, you will struggle as an adult, frustrate yourself, lose self confidence and ultimately resort childish, vulgar responses as a self defense. There are severally among us that deploy these infantile shields on a daily basis One of them is lurking right above you

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