An adolescent in northwest Austin, Texas, is questioning Four Points Middle School gave her 12-year-old daughter an assignment to draw and colour a picture of herself like a slave.
“There is nothing about compliments which I would want any child, regardless of colour, to need to relive,” the girl’s mother, Tonya Jennings, informed KVUE-TV.
After the 7th grader came home from school, she took the assignment from her backpack and showed that her mom what it said on the previous page.
“I turn it, then, obviously, my eye is drawn to the name, ‘Making Sense together with all the Senses.’ And I read the following four points. And I stopped after reading, ‘Draw a picture of your self as a slave.’ I simply stopped right there,” Jennings told KVUE.
The assignment goes on to ask students to “colour the picture and to explain what they’d smell, hear, taste, see, and touch if they had been a slave in the Civil War.”
“I realized that I needed to describe to her what this meant or what they had been attempting to reach. And I realized that I didn’t know what they had been attempting to reach or what they had been trying to perform,” Jennings told the TV channel.
Jennings remarked that the remainder of the assignment concerns the Civil War, however, it does not mention of slavery.
“It’s totally out of place,” she explained. “It just doesn’t go with the package at all. To ask my child to put herself into a situation in which she has to draw herself because a slave was an issue only, you know, all of the way up the board,” she explained.
How did the school district respond?
The Leander Independent School District defended the assignment by sending the TV channel the following announcement:
“A parent contacted Four Points Middle School earlier today with a concern about a Texas History lesson regarding the Civil War and the role of slavery. The campus quickly responded to the parent to listen to his concerns and discuss the circumstance. When teaching sensitive information, we work hard to deliver lessons with context and care to our students.
The tragic consequences of slavery are well documented and pertinent to our state and country’s history. The state program for seventh-grade history expects students to clarify grounds for Texas’ participation in the Civil War, such as countries’ rights, slavery, sectionalism and tariffs. The state also asks students to have the ability to identify points of view in the historical context surrounding an event and the frame of reference that influenced the participants.
To find out more concerning the seventh-grade social studies program, please consult with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) site, department “113.19. Social Studies, Grade 7, Beginning with School Year 2011-2012″, sub-sections five and 21.”
Jennings wasn’t satisfied with the district’s response.
She plans to meet with school leaders Monday to address better ways to educate about the Civil War, the report stated.