Texas teacher asks eighth-grade students to list out 'positives' of slavery, school issues apology
One of the parents of the eigth-graders, Roberto Livar, posted a picture of the assigned worksheet to the students, which was titled: The Life of Slaves: A Balanced View.
A teacher from a charter school in San Antonio, Texas asked eighth-grade students to list out the "positive aspects" of slavery along with the negatives for an American history class, according to reports. The incident sparked outrage on social media and the school later issued an apology.
Superintendent of Great Hearts Texas, Aaron Kindel, released a statement on Facebook on Thursday, saying: "To be clear, there is no debate about slavery. It is immoral and a crime against humanity. We sincerely apologize for the insensitive nature of this offense."
One of the parents of the eighth-graders, Roberto Livar, posted a picture of the assigned worksheet to the students, which was titled: The Life of Slaves: A Balanced View.
Livar said that his son, Manu, was asked to finish this assignment at home, according to HuffPost reports.
Livar's son studies at the Great Hearts Monte Vista North campus in San Antonio. The incident was again brought to public's attention when the Democratic Texas Representative, Joaquin Castro, tweeted on Thursday, condemning the school's assignment, calling it "absolutely unacceptable."
Castro, in a statement, said: "Asking students to complete such an assignment challenges the reality that slavery was utterly dehumanizing. It is also an affront to the basic idea of human liberty. Great Hearts Charter network should do a full review of its history curriculum and those who teach it," according to KENS-TV.
This is absolutely unacceptable. A @GreatHeartsTX charter school in San Antonio asked students to complete a “balanced view” assignment about slavery, requiring them to list the “positive aspects” of slave life. The teacher worked from a @pearson textbook. pic.twitter.com/mzEWty68tB— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) April 19, 2018
The superintendent, Kindel, said that the school's headmaster and teachers will "spend time with the impacted students to explain the mistake," while adding that the incident was limited to only one teacher.
The Great Hearts is also reportedly conducting an audit of the textbook, Prentice Hall Classics: A History of the United States, to see if it should be permanently replaced, according to reports. The textbook's publishing company, however, distanced itself away from the controversy, saying that it does not "support the point of view represented in the worksheet."
Pearson's Director of Media Relations Scott Overland, in a statement, said: "The worksheet that was being associated with this book in social media posts was not created by, endorsed, or encouraged in any way by Pearson. We do not support the point of view represented in the worksheet and strongly condemn the implication that there was any positive aspect to slavery," according to USA Today.