NY Middle School Students Asked to Create ‘Runaway Slave’ Ad as Part of Extra Credit Assignment, Parents Outraged | African-American News and Black History

19th Century Slave Trade, Extra Credit Assignment, National, News, Port Chester Middle School, Race, Runaway Slave Ad -

NY Middle School Students Asked to Create ‘Runaway Slave’ Ad as Part of Extra Credit Assignment, Parents Outraged

19th Century Slave Trade, Extra Credit Assignment, National, News, Port Chester Middle School, Race, Runaway Slave Ad -

NY Middle School Students Asked to Create ‘Runaway Slave’ Ad as Part of Extra Credit Assignment, Parents Outraged

Runaway Slave Ad
The assignment was reportedly part of a unit on American slavery and the Civil War. (Image courtesy of Facebook)

Parents of an upstate New York middle school are hopping mad over an extra-credit assignment evoking 19th-century slavery.

Photos of the assignment asking Port Chester Middle School students to draft ads for a “runaway slave” has gone viral on Facebook, drawing concern from parents and school administrators, the Daily Voice reported. The project was reportedly related to a class lesson on American slavery and was intended to mirror 19th-century ads offering cash rewards for the return of escaped slaves.

The project is reportedly part of the school’s common core curriculum, but it’s unclear whether it’s been assigned before.

According to instructions for the assignment, student must place a reward amount at the top of their ad, list the escapee’s name and age, and give a five-sentenced description of the enslaved persons who were “lost,” including when and where they went missing. The ad must also include the owner’s contact information, as well as a photo.

The history assignment has drawn the ire of several parents in the community, who condemned the school’s method of teaching students about slavery.

” … Parents, so what if school is almost over; don’t just ask (your children) do they have homework,” one woman wrote on Facebook. “Check the homework they have. If you don’t like what you’re seeing, stand up for your kids [and] make noise. Enough is enough, and we’re not having it. No way!”

“So a teacher at Port Chester Middle School in New York thought it would be okay to give her kids this assignment as extra credit … WHAT THE HELL?” wrote another.

According to the Journal News, the Port Chester school district is now investigating the assignment. Superintendent Edward Kliszus alerted parent to the assignment via email Friday after it began circulating on Facebook. He explained it was a follow-up to a unit discussing slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction and American society leading up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“ … The District considers this assignment offensive and inappropriate on multiple levels,” Kliszus said in a statement. “This morning we commenced an investigation into the incident and are involving our attorneys on the matter to ensure that we explore all means to best address this issue.”

“The district considers this assignment offensive and inappropriate on multiple levels,” he continued. “I pledge that the district shall take appropriate action to ensure not only that this type of situation does not reoccur, but also, that all of our staff thoroughly understand the gross impropriety of the assignment.”

There’s no word on if the teacher who assigned the extra-credit project will be disciplined.


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