After Anti-Police Homework Outrages Parents, School District Calls Assignment ‘Inappropriate’
Parents of children attending an elementary school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, were shocked when their first graders brought home a worksheet featuring a story about two young boys running away from the police.
Even though the school district has since denied the homework assignment was a part of the district’s curriculum, parents and others in the community are still upset.
Sometime in September, first-grade students at Pittsburgh Linden PreK-5 were sent home with a worksheet to help them learn a group of sight words.
The assignment featured a story about two boys, Tom and Rob, which the students needed to read three times and then answer a set of questions to check the students’ comprehension.
“Tom will run,” the story read. “He will run from the cop. Tom will run with Rob. They will not stop. Look at the cop. The cop has a big mop. What will he do with the mop? Tom falls on a log. Rob falls in the pond. ‘Get them!’ yells the cop to his dog. The dog gets Tom and Rob. Rob’s socks is wet from the pond.”
Ladodie Whiters shared a picture of the worksheet on her Facebook page in disbelief and called for action from the Pittsburgh Public School District.
“This is what they are teaching in our Elementary schools in Pittsburgh,” she wrote on Sept. 25.
“Really run from cop? they couldn’t think of no other story to teach them sight words huh? PPS this should not be going on.”
Whiters’ post was shared over 1,000 times with others chiming in with their shared concern.
“Wake up moms wake up fathers,grandparents and all guardians,” one man said. “Lets make ourselves a part of our children’s educational systems; it sneaks all kinds of trash on kids be visual and take actions.”
“Why couldn’t they run from a dog trip on a log and catch a frog,” another commenter asked.
Those who were outraged by the anti-police message of the assignment called the school and the district to complain.
One day after Whiters post on Facebook, the school district posted an acknowledgment of the assignment and denied that the worksheet was a part of the school’s curriculum.
“We have become aware of an inappropriate homework assignment that was distributed to 1st grade students at Pittsburgh Linden PreK-5 and circulated on social media,” they wrote.
“While we continue to support teacher autonomy to supplement classroom materials to meet the needs of their students, we must ensure that all materials placed in front of our students are culturally responsive, validating and affirming their cultural and ethnic identities.”
The school district also confirmed that they were investigating the source of the “inappropriate” worksheet.
Anthony Hamlet, the superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools, told “Today” that parents are “justifiably” upset.
“Not only does the content send the wrong message to our students, but it also does not meet our expectations for student instruction,” Hamlet said in his statement.
“We also recognize it is our responsibility to alert educators of their blind spots related to implicit bias, colorblindness, and micro-aggressions.”
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