Images criticized in school's desegregation lesson, officials respond

Published: May. 6, 2015 at 7:20 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 5, 2015 at 7:20 PM EDT
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STANLY COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A class lesson at a Stanly County elementary school is being criticized after some deemed the lesson as racist.

A viewer contacted WBTV Wednesday morning saying she was "disgusted" after a group of kindergarten students were given an assignment by a substitute teacher that she felt was "degrading and racist material."

Images that were printed as a part of the assignment include children holding signs that say "Whites Only," "No Negroes" and "I want segregation."

The assignment was reportedly given to a kindergarten class at Richfield Elementary in Stanly County.

Terry Griffin, the superintendent of Stanly County Schools, says the photos are include on a worksheet given to students as a follow up to a story "Ruby Bridges."

In spring of 1960, Ruby Bridges was one of six black children in New Orleans to pass the test that determined whether they could go to an all-white school. Two of the six decided to stay at their old school, three were transferred to a different school and Bridges went to a school by herself.

Griffin says a guidance counselor was teaching the class at the time and was using the material as a "guidance lesson" to reinforce their character trait of the month which is "courage."

"Any time we have a concern expressed, that's just part of a procedure we use, certainly is to go back and reflect on it." Griffin told WBTV. "To see, as in terms of age appropriateness, if it was appropriately aligned with the objective they were trying to accomplish there."

Griffin declined an on camera interview and said no parent had contacted the school to complain.

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