Controversial homework assignment brings social issues into clas - KMOV.com

Controversial homework assignment brings social issues into classroom

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) - A fourth grade homework assignment is raising eyebrows and causing concern for parents.

It's a vocabulary lesson from Humboldt Academy, a magnet school within St. Louis Public Schools. The first question asked fourth graders to define the word “dignity.” But it's the example used that caused a parent to reach out to News 4.

“Even when the police officers put the handcuffs on my mother, she maintained her dignity, holding her head up high as she marched off the protest site,” read the homework assignment.

When Danielle Kinnaird was helping her son with his homework, the sentence made her stop in her tracks.

“I was shocked. I said, 'Are you talking about this at school? What is going on in your homework?' And he said 'No, we're not talking about this,'” Kinnaird said.

Kinnaird's 10-year-old son Tre brought the assignment home this week, but it was his reaction that made Kinnaird even more upset.

“He said, 'They must think all of our parents get locked up.' He's 10. Who is he referring to as they? The school? The teacher?” Kinnaird asked.

The principal at Humboldt Academy would not speak to News 4. Neither would the superintendent or a spokesperson.

The school did send a statement calling the example, “not positive, inappropriate and a cause for concern.”

The district said, "Regret any discomfort this incident may have caused for our students and parents.”

Kinnaird wants a better explanation.

“Where did this originate from? Is this from the school board? Is this from a text book? Did [the teacher] create this on Microsoft Word?” Kinnaird asked.

The school district said they are looking into where it came from.

In the meantime, a spokesperson for St Louis Public Schools said the teacher will meet with a school administrator and the matter will be referred to Human Resources.
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