Shayn Roby’s Take: Any time that the subject of slavery is approached among the African American population, there is potential for misunderstanding, confusion, and anger. The whole point of the assignment was in order for each student to feel the magnitude of the hard life that was imposed upon those who were held in the bondage of slavery. The assignment was neither irrelevant nor inappropriate, but perhaps it would be wise to allow an alternative assignment to be substituted for those who feel offended..
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Parents of some students in an eighth-grade English class at Hawthorne Middle School were outraged Thursday over a homework assignment requiring students to keep a first-hand diary of life as a slave for five days, describing the so-called slave journal “inappropriate and demeaning.”
Hawthorne School Superintendent Helen E. Morgan responded in a statement: “Asking students to write a journal as if they were experiencing a historical event is an appropriate teaching strategy. It requires the writer to think critically about the facts and emotions that may have impacted someone in that situation.”
Nerissa Knight reports for the KTLA 5 News at 10 on Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014.