Homework Assignment Asks Kids to List 3 'Good Reasons' for Slavery


Trameka Brown-Berry/Facebook

There has been an uprising of parents speaking out against homework assignments and classroom lessons that they feel are too offensive and inappropriate for kids. Sometimes, these assignments may center around sex education that parents don't agree with. Other times, like this one, the assignment actually forces fourth graders to create justifications for slavery.

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On Monday, mom Trameka Brown-Berry took to Facebook to post about a homework assignment her 9-year-old son had come home with. Brown-Berry asked, "Does anyone else find my 4th grader's homework offensive?" And she shared the image of a piece of paper that asked students to "Give 3 'good' reasons for slavery and 3 bad reasons."

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Trameka Brown-Berry/Facebook

Huffington Post reports the assignment was given out to students at Our Redeemer Lutheran School, a private Christian school in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Brown-Berry tells Fox 6 she found the assignment both "offensive and insensitive."  

"I was in shock. I couldn't believe they sent something like that home," she said. "Not only was my son in an awful position, but the students who weren't black -- that's what keeps racism going."

In response to the offensive prompt, Brown-Berry's son chose to write, "I feel like there is no good reason for slavery that's why I did not write." He then followed his response with his three bad reasons, which included, "biting them," "splitting them up from family members," and "making them do your chores and work when it's your job." The 9-year-old also finished the assignment by saying, "I am proud to be black because we are strong and brave."

Brown-Berry's Facebook post attracted plenty of attention -- over 2,000 shares in only a few days. Many who saw the post reached out to Our Redeemer Lutheran School to share their concerns and voice their anger. In response, WISN reports the school's principal, Jim Van Dellen released a statement, apologizing to parents. 

"We understand that, as presented, the words used showed a lack of sensitivity and were offensive," said Van Dellen. "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."

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On Tuesday, January 9, Brown-Berry went back to Facebook to share that she felt the situation had been adequately and responsibly resolved. The mom said Principal Van Dellen was prompt in addressing her concerns, which included the removal of the assignment from "current and future curriculum," apologies to both the children and parents, and cultural diversity training for staff and teachers. 

While Brown-Berry is satisfied with the steps she and the school are taking to ensure that something like this never happens again, she doesn't regret sharing her original post. "Speak up. Tell your story," she told Fox 6. "That is how you go about change. That's what I was trying to model for my son."

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