Class assignment asks students to justify KKK; Teacher on leave

Lexington, SC (WLTX) - A Midlands teacher is on administrative leave after a giving fifth grade students an assignment that asked them to imagine being a member of the KKK in the period after the Civil War.

The assignment was given to students in a class at Oak Pointe Elementary in Lexington-Richland School District Five. A concerned family member of one of the students posted on Facebook about the assignment. Multiple people began sharing the post and called and messaged News19, upset about the content of the assignment. 

In the Facebook post that was sent to us, it shows a box with the following question: "You are there...You are a member of the KKK. Why do you think your treatment of African-Americans is justified?"

The box allows students to write their own response. 

Underneath the first question is another which says "You are there...you are a freedman. Are you satisfied with your new life? Why or why not?"

Again, students could give their own response. 

News19 contacted the district, who sent the following statement:

"School District Five is taking this matter very seriously. We took immediate action to investigate once the concerns over the assignment were brought to our attention, and the teacher has been placed on administrative leave as part of our standard personnel investigation procedures. We have been in communication and will continue to be in communication with families to let them know our actions and next steps.

"South Carolina standards for 5th grade require lessons on Reconstruction and discriminatory groups including the KKK. We must teach the standard, but we are taking steps to ensure this particular assignment will never be used again in District Five schools.

"We understand the seriousness of this matter particularly in light of the events taking place in our country at this time. We want to ensure that our students, parents, staff and community know that we are giving this matter our full attention."

News19 is continuing to follow the story, and will post further updates when they become available. 

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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