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New York teacher facing discipline after telling students to caption pictures of freed slaves and 'make it funny'

Not a good idea

Image source: WLNY-TV screenshot

A middle school teacher in New York is in big trouble after giving students an assignment that many found to be shocking and offensive.

The assignment, which came during the middle of a social studies unit about the plight of freed slaves who worked as sharecroppers in the Reconstruction Era, asked students to caption photos of freed slaves. So far, so good, but the teacher ruffled some major feathers when she instructed students to "make it funny" and "don't bore me."

Needless to say, many parents (and grandparents) were not amused, and posted photos of the assignment on their facebook pages. The posts collectively accumulated thousands of likes and shares, until the local school board took notice. One student's grandparent posted a picture of the assignment that got over one thousand shares.

According to WLNY-TV, the teacher in question is a veteran social studies teacher at J.W. Dodd Middle School in Freeport, New York.

After outrage began to spread in the community, Freeport superintendent Dr. Kishore Kuncham issued a statement about the incident.

The statement noted that the teacher was immediately removed from the classroom pending an investigation. The investigation determined that "this lesson was poorly conceived and executed." The statement further stated that, "Aside from the fact that this is a poor lesson, it is an insensitive trivialization of a deeply painful era for African Americans in this country, and it is unacceptable."

The superintendent's statement also relayed an apology from the teacher, which stated in part that, "I fully accept that I must work hard to rebuild trust from my students, colleagues, and the community."

The statement also indicated that the district was "finalizing an agreement with the teacher and her union representatives," presumably related to some disciplinary measures. Other than this statement, the teacher declined future comment to local media outlets.

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