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Georgia teacher resigns, NAACP wants others fired over slavery math homework

10:47 AM, Jan 19, 2012   |    comments
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GWINNETT COUNTY, GA (CBS ATLANTA) - A Gwinnett County elementary school teacher has resigned following backlash over assigning math homework that referred to slavery and beatings.

And now, our partners at CBS Atlanta News has learned that state and local NAACP leaders are demanding that the school district fire other teachers who are involved.

See Also: Slavery assignment shames 6th grader

Last week, district spokeswoman Sloan Roach confirmed that third-grade students at Beaver Ridge Elementary were learning about former slave Frederick Douglass in social studies. The teachers, Roach said, were trying to incorporate that lesson into math homework.

But some parents felt that slavery was too sensitive a topic to be used so casually in math questions. One of those parents was Christopher Braxton, who showed his son's assignment to CBS Atlanta News.

One of the questions read: "Each tree had 56 oranges. If eight slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?"

"I can just put it in three letters," Braxton said. "Why? Why try to relive and bring something like that or whatever? That really had nothing to do with a math equation or homework or anything."

Another question read: "If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in one week?"

Several civil rights groups, including the NAACP, National Action Network, United Youth-Adult Conference and Rainbow Push, protested outside the school after learning about the assignment. The groups wants the district to fire the teachers involved.

"We think that it is disgusting, that in 2011 that students would be given homework that would even equate, at least have language of slavery," said Georgia NAACP President Edward DuBois. "We think it's demeaning to the parents and that the teacher must be reprimanded or at best fired."

Wednesday, Roach issued the following statement:

"The investigation into a personnel matter involving four Gwinnett County teachers at Beaver Ridge Elementary was completed late Tuesday. During the course of the investigation, the school system accepted the resignation of one teacher. The principal will move forward immediately to fill the vacancy created by this resignation. As this is a personnel matter, the district will not elaborate further."

Braxton said his son told him Tuesday that a substitute teacher would be there for the remainder of the school year. Braxton said he thought he would have heard something from the school.

The NAACP said it plans to address the school board on Thursday, demanding that three teachers who distributed the homework to their students be fired. The NAACP also wants the school district to hold a meeting with parents to discuss the matter.

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