School system apologizes for ‘inappropriate’ homework assignment

Questions dealt with values of slaves versus white people
Updated: Dec. 10, 2019 at 6:46 PM EST
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KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (WBTV) - The Kannapolis City School System has apologized to a parent after a child was given a homework assignment that the system says was inappropriate.

The parent posted the assignment on social media. It was given out by a teacher at Kannapolis Middle School. A section on the assignment asked students to compare the values of slaves with white people.

“How many slaves would be needed to equal at least four white people?” one of the questions asks. “How many slaves would you have if you equaled 1 4/5 whites.”

The student told the mother that “the history teacher told us every black person is 3/5 or some percentage of a white person.”

The school system responded to the social media post and to questions from WBTV about the assignment.

“Thank you for bringing this assignment to our attention,” the school system responded in a social media post. “In addition to reaching out to you personally to apologize, we also are posting here on behalf of Kannapolis City Schools to say that we agree that the assignment was not appropriate. We have taken steps to address it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. All of us at KMS and in Kannapolis City Schools sincerely apologize to you and all who were rightfully offended, and we’re making sure the assignment does not count toward any student’s grade. We expect and promote racial equity in our schools, and this assignment did not meet that standard or expectation at all. We are very sorry for that and are working to help make sure it won’t happen again. We hope you will accept our sincere apology and assurance that we are responding swiftly to correct the situation.”

“We apologized to the parent personally," said Ellen Boyd of Kannapolis City Schools. The principal talked to her, the superintendent talked to her personally to reach out and apologize. We’ve taken immediate action to make sure it never happens again. We actually put a very high value in Kannapolis City Schools on racial equity, we have an ongoing partnership with the racial equity institute, so this assignment did not meet the standards we are looking for and our expectations in any way.”

According to the Three-Fifths Compromise in the Constitutional Convention of 1787, three out of every five slaves in the United States were counted as people for the purpose of determining a state’s population, taxation, and representation.

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