Parents Outraged Over 5th Grade Assignment

New Jersey parents are reacting in outrage on social media after seeing what their kids have been working on in school.

Parents of fifth grade students at South Mountain Elementary School in South Orange ,New Jersey attended teacher conferences and were shocked at the projects displayed on the classroom walls.

Students were asked to create a mock advertisement for "slave auctions" to display inside the classroom.

Posters depicted "Wanted" slaves with hand drawn illustrations by the students. This assignment was part of a larger unit on Colonial America.

“In a curriculum that lacks representation for students of color, it breaks my heart that these will be the images that young black and brown kids see of people with their skin color,” parent Jamil Karriem wrote Tuesday on Facebook.“It is completely lost on me how this project could be an effective way to teach any student in any age group about American history.”

MAPSO Community- Have some disheartening news. While we pride ourselves on our towns culture of progression and...

Posted by Jamil Karriem on Tuesday, March 7, 2017

South Orange-Maplewood Superintendent John Ramos defended the projects in a letter, saying that the assignment gave the students a more comprehensive understanding of Colonial America.

“One of the anti-bias experts highlighted the fact that schools all over our country often skip over the more painful aspects of American History, and that we need to do a better job of acknowledging the uglier parts of our past, so that children learn the full story,” Ramos said in the letter.

Parents are divided about how they feel about the assignment.

The posters have since been taken down and Ramos has apologized to the parents who were offended by the images.

“We completely understand how disturbing these images are, and why parents were upset. This was exacerbated by the fact that the displays did not include an explanation of the assignment or its learning objectives,” he said.

What do you think of the assignment?

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