Students asked to list positive aspects of slavery at San Antonio school

Students asked to list positive aspects of slavery at San Antonio charter school

A San Antonio charter school’s superintendent is apologizing after a teacher assigned 8th-grade students an assignment that asked them to take “a balanced view” of the life of slaves, listing both the positive and negative aspects.

Superintendent Aaron Kindel said the American History teacher at the Great Hearts Monte Vista North campus assigned homework that was “very inappropriate” and “entirely inconsistent” with the school’s philosophy.

The teacher involved, who was not identified, has been placed on leave while the school investigates.

“To be clear, there is no debate about slavery,” Kindel said in a Facebook post Thursday morning. “It is immoral and a crime against humanity.”

San Antonio Congressman Joaquin Castro posted a photo of the worksheet to Twitter, calling it “absolutely unacceptable.”

On the worksheet, a student wrote a dozen negative aspects of slavery — including “rape,” “forced strenuous labor,” and “occasional torture” — and wrote “N/A” for positive aspects.

Kindel said he became aware of the homework Wednesday evening and reviewed the situation, learning the homework was limited to one teacher at just one of their campuses.

“It was a clear mistake and we sincerely apologize for the insensitive nature of this offense,” he continued, thanking the parents who reported the homework to administration. 

The textbook the teacher was working from, “Prentice Hall Classics: A History of the United States,” has been removed from classrooms at the school. The superintendent says if necessary they will remove it permanently and replace it with a history book that accurately reflects their values.

The school’s headmaster and teachers will also explain to students the mistake, Kindel said.

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