SC teacher on administrative leave following homework assignments that ask fifth-graders to justify KKK's actions

Published: Sep. 15, 2017 at 9:16 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2017 at 11:05 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

IRMO, SC (WIS) - A teacher at a Midlands elementary school has been placed on administrative leave after giving a homework assignment to students that involved a question about the Ku Klux Klan, according to a Lexington-Richland School District 5 spokesperson.

Screenshots of the homework assignment, given to students at Oak Pointe Elementary School in Irmo, SC, were posted on Facebook by Tremain Cooper, who said his nephew was given this assignment by his fifth-grade teacher.

The assignment includes a grid that has KKK on top and lists the group's "purpose and motivation," "effects on opportunities of African-Americans," and "Illustrations." In addition, the questions read, "You are there...You are a member of the KKK. Why do you think your treatment of African Americans is justified?"

Another question reads: "You are there...You are a freedman. Are you satisfied with your new life? Why or why not?"

Cooper wrote in the Facebook post on Thursday that his nephew was upset and he was in disbelief of the questions.

"How can she [the teacher] ask a 5th grader to justify the actions of the KKK," Cooper wrote.

Katrina Goggins, the director of communications for Lexington-Richland School District 5, said that the teacher has been placed on administrative leave per the investigation. Goggins said that personnel issues are confidential. The school district's statement, in full, says:

School District Five is taking this matter very seriously. We took immediate action to investigate once the concerns over the assignment were brought to our attention, and the teacher has been placed on administrative leave as part of our standard personnel investigation procedures. We have been in communication and will continue to be in communication with families to let them know our actions and next steps.

South Carolina standards for 5th grade require lessons on Reconstruction and discriminatory groups including the KKK. We must teach the standard, but we are taking steps to ensure this particular assignment will never be used again in District Five schools.

We understand the seriousness of this matter particularly in light of the events taking place in our country at this time. We want to ensure that our students, parents, staff and community know that we are giving this matter our full attention.

The teacher will remain on administrative leave until the investigation is complete. The teacher was not identified by the school district but was identified in social media posts made by Cooper.

We reached out to the family of the student, who did not wish to make a statement at this time or be interviewed.

Copyright 2017 WIS. All rights reserved.