Detroit teacher criticized for asking students how they’ll ‘punish’ a slave during a history lesson

Francis Akhalbey December 10, 2020
A Detroit teacher asked students how they'll punish a slave during a history lesson -- Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

A Detroit mother is livid and wants answers after a teacher in her daughter’s school asked her class how they’ll punish a slave during a social studies lesson on the history of slavery.

Speaking to WXYZ, Jade Holt, a 7th grader at Frost Middle School in Livonia, said the question, which was asked in an assignment, was “weird” and made her feel “uncomfortable” after seeing it.

The question read: “A slave stands before you. This slave has disrespected his master by telling him you are not my master. How will you punish this slave?”

“I read the question and typed my answer,” Jade said. “It was there will be no punishment because I do not believe in slavery.”

Jade’s mother, Jaala Holt, also told the news outlet she decided to call out the teacher and the school authorities because she did not want another student to go through her daughter’s experience. “I never want my daughter to feel that way again, the way she felt this morning,” Jaala said, adding that not only the teacher should be blamed for asking the students that question.

“Everything has to be approved before it’s given to the children. So, for whomever approved this inappropriate question for 7th graders, I find it asinine for me,” she said. She also wants teachers in the school to at least undergo cultural sensitivity training.

In a statement to 7 Action News, a spokesperson from the school admitted the question wasn’t framed “appropriately”.

“Concerns from a parent were brought to our attention this morning, and we have reviewed a social studies assignment given to three classes of our seventh-grade students,” the statement said.

“We recognize the assignment in question was not constructed appropriately, as we believe in the importance of approaching topics of slavery in any era of world history with the utmost care and consideration.”

It is, however, not known if the teacher or any other person has been disciplined as the school’s principal did not say anything about that.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: December 10, 2020


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