October 12, 2019
A first-grade assignment in a Pittsburgh public school about two boys running from the police angered parents and community members.
Parents with children enrolled at a Pittsburgh elementary school were outraged over an assignment given by their teacher, which used two boys running from the police as an example.
Some used social media to express their concern and anger over the homework given about two boys, Tom and Rob, running away from a cop who hunted them down with a dog.
"This is what they are teaching in our Elementary schools in Pittsburgh. Really run from cop they couldn't think of no other story to teach them sight words huh?"
Others shared their concern and voiced it out on Pittsburgh Public School's Facebook page, asking what made the teacher think that the homework was in any way acceptable.
Meanwhile, some believed that nothing was wrong with the story and reflected mere innocence. Superintendent Anthony Hamlet said it sent "the wrong message to our students." He adds:
"We also recognize it is our responsibility to alert educators of their blind spots related to implicit bias, color blindness, and microaggressions."
Eventually, the school apologized to those offended by the activity.
However, the school reassured the parents that the given assignment was not included in their curriculum and the matter is still being investigated. They also shared a statement which read:
"While we continue to support teacher autonomy to supplement classroom materials to meet the needs of their students, we must ensure that all materials placed in front of our students are culturally responsive, validating and affirming their cultural and ethnic identities."
According to the school District Solicitor Ira Weiss, two teachers were part of the homework distributed, but the administration is still conducting an investigation.
The president of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, Nina Seposito-Visgitis, also said that the activity was only one among a packed of homework as the teachers' lesson involved short and O's.
Similarly, two teachers at the Hazeley Academy in Milton Keynes received complaints about an inappropriate homework given to their students.
The assignment involved having to list down the "pros" and "cons" of slavery after tackling the topic on the British Empire. Eventually, the school apologized to those offended by the activity.