"Three good reasons for slavery" homework assignment sparks back - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

"Three good reasons for slavery" homework assignment sparks backlash in Wauwatosa

Trameka Brown-Berry, Facebook Trameka Brown-Berry, Facebook

Wauwatosa (CNN) - A homework assignment at a Wisconsin Christian school has sparked backlash after a teacher asked students to list "three good reasons for slavery."

On Monday, fourth grade students at Our Redeemer Lutheran School were handed a group assignment in English class.  

The question: "give three good reasons for slavery and three bad reasons."

"It's highly offensive and insensitive," said a parent, Trameka Brown-Berry. "I was in shock. I couldn't believe they sent something like that home."

Trameka Brown-Berry is the mother of a 9-year-old boy in the class.

"Not only was my son in an awful position but the students who weren't black because it's that sort of mentality of not being able to see from another's perspective, and only seeing your lens, that's what's dangerous," Brown-Berry said. "That's what keeps racism going."

School principal Jim Van Dellen admits the assignment was out of line.  

In a letter to parents and students Tuesday, Van Dellen said the purpose of the assignment was not, in any way, to have students argue that any slavery is acceptable.

He said the assignment is no longer part of the curriculum, something Van Dellen said was intended to spark debate in class.

"For it to be a Christian school, they could have said something like, what are three good things we can do to prevent slavery from happening?" questioned Andrea Michel with Safe Place Meeting Group.

The principal is vowing to better communicate sensitive subjects being discussed in class with parents before presenting it to students.  

Brown-Berry said this homework should be a lesson to us all, and the reason she posted it on-line.

"Speak up, tell your story, voice your opinion because that is how you go about change," Brown-Berry said. "That is what I was trying to model for my son."

The principal said he will be meeting with this parent face-to-face on Wednesday, but it's unclear if the teacher is being disciplined.

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