Fifth-grade teacher suspended after telling students to ‘justify’ KKK actions as homework assignment

Fifth-grade teacher suspended after telling students to ‘justify’ KKK actions as homework assignment
A fifth-grade teacher in Irmo, South Carolina, was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, after assigning homework about the Ku Klux Klan. (Image source: KTXL-TV video screenshot)

Kerri Roberts, a fifth-grade teacher at Oak Pointe Elementary School in Irmo, South Carolina, was suspended after assigning controversial homework to her class. The assignment asked that students to identify with the Ku Klux Klan and to “justify” the treatment of African-American slaves.

What did the assignment say?

A Thursday Facebook post shared by Tremain Cooper, the uncle of a student in Roberts’ class, featured the assignment and issued a call to arms in order for the issue to be brought to light.

Questions on the homework sheet read, “You are a member of the KKK. Why do you think your treatment of African-Americans is justified?”

Another question read, “You are a freedman. Are you satisfied with your new life? Why or why not?”

What was the reaction?

Cooper shared the image and captioned it, “CHECK IT OUT FAMILY. CHECK IT OUT FAMILY. I NEED YALL TO HELP ME. THIS IS MY LITTLE 10 YEAR OLD NEPHEW’S HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT today. HE’S HOME CRYING RIGHT NOW.”

“THE TEACHER’S NAME IS KERRI ROBERTS AT OAKPOINT ELEMENTARY IN DISTRICT 5 IN IRMO, SC right outside of my hometown of Columbia, S.C.,” he continued. “HOW CAN SHE ASK A 5TH GRADER TO JUSTIFY THE ACTIONS OF THE KKK??? WE ARE CONTACTING EVERYBODY FROM THE SCHOOL TO THE MEDIA. PLEASE HELP. PLEASE SHARE.”

Cooper on Friday shared an update on Facebook that read, “Imagine a German teacher with the audacity to send a 10 year old Jewish boy home with a homework assignment that would even remotely suggest justifying Nazi actions toward Jewish people,” Cooper wrote.

He added, “That school system would be reprimanded immediately by the entire Jewish community in the U.S.”

He followed it with a second update, and this time, presented it as having to justify rape.

“Imagine a male teacher with the audacity of sending a 10 year old girl home with a homework assignment that would even remotely suggest justifying the actions of the man that raped her,” he wrote.

“That teacher would be reprimanded immediately by the entire community,” he said.

The child’s uncle shared a later update on Friday and told his followers that Roberts had been disciplined and suspended for her actions. The school district has since confirmed that the teacher has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation in an official statement.

He wrote, “The teacher is under investigation and is on administrative leave until the investigation is complete. We met with the school district and principals. The school is sending home letters to every family today.”

Cooper said that the principal had also apologized as a result of the homework assignment.

“Oakpoint [sic] is a predominantly white school with mostly white faculty and staff, maybe this will lead to more black inclusion. It’s only right,” he added.

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