"Three good reasons for slavery" homework assignment sparks back - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

"Three good reasons for slavery" homework assignment sparks backlash in Wauwatosa

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Courtesy: Trameka Brown-Berry/Facebook Courtesy: Trameka Brown-Berry/Facebook

WAUWATOSA (WKOW) -- A homework assignment at a Wauwatosa school has sparked backlash. A teacher asked students to "list three good reasons for slavery."

Fourth graders at Our Redeemer Lutheran School were given the assignment Monday. It said, "Give three good reasons for slavery and three bad reasons."

Parent Trameka Brown-Berry is the mother of a 9-year-old boy in the class. She told Fox 6 in Milwaukee, "It's highly offensive and insensitive. I was in shock. I couldn't believe they sent something like that home. Not only was my son in an awful position but the students who weren't black, because it's that sort of mentality of not being able to see from another's perspective and only seeing your lens -- that's what dangerous. That's what keeps racism going."

School principal Jim Van Dellen admits to Fox 6 the assignment was out of line.

He sent a letter to parents and students Tuesday, saying, "The purpose of the assignment was not, in any way, to have students argue that any slavery is acceptable."

Van Dellen tells Fox 6 the assignment is no longer part of the curriculum.

Andrea Michel with Safe Place Meeting Group was upset about the assignment. She tells Fox 6, "And for it to be a Christian school, they could have said something like, 'What are three good things we can do to prevent slavery from happening?'"

The principal vows to communicate better about sensitive subjects to parents before they are presented to students. 

Brown-Berry posted the assignment online because she wants it to be a lesson for us all. "Speak up, tell your story, voice your opinion because that is how you go about change. And that is what I was trying to model for my son," she told Fox 6.

Brown-Berry's son wrote on his assignment, "I feel there is not good reason for slavery." Principal Van Dellen plans to meet with Brown-Berry Wednesday.

Fox 6 says it's unclear if the teacher will be disciplined.

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