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Teacher Accused Of Racism Following 'Insensitive' Picture Caption Task

Teacher Accused Of Racism Following 'Insensitive' Picture Caption Task

An American teacher has been accused of racism after allegedly asking students to 'write something funny' as captions for pictures of former slaves following the American Civil War.

Darlene McCurty, the grandmother of a student at John W. Dodd Middle School in Freeport, New York, took to Facebook to express her concern regarding an incident with a teacher at the school.

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McCurty - whose granddaughter's friend is in the teacher's eighth grade class - said the teacher should be reprimanded for her 'blatant insensitivity'.

The concerned grandma explained: "My granddaughter who is in the eighth grade contacted me last night - she said her friend's social studies teacher gave a class assignment to 'write something funny' about these pictures on slavery - and make it real funny because she didn't want to be bored."

The photos, attached to the post, were later revealed by the school's management to be post-Civil War 'sharecroppers' - an arrangement where labourers rented agricultural land from a planter in exchange for a share of the crops, which often left former slaves at the mercy of unscrupulous landlords.

The children were allegedly told to 'write something funny' about post-Civil War pictures. Credit: Facebook/Darlene McCurty
The children were allegedly told to 'write something funny' about post-Civil War pictures. Credit: Facebook/Darlene McCurty

McCurty said her granddaughter 'was and still is very upset' about what happened, urging parents of children at the school to contact the administration to request the teacher is 'removed for her blatant insensitivity and racism towards teaching this lesson on slavery to our children'.

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In a statement shared on the district's website, superintendent Dr. Kishore Kuncham said the teacher had been removed from the classroom while an investigation is being conducted.

Explaining that the students had been asked to write captions for Reconstruction Era hotos, Kuncham said: "Our investigation has determined that this lesson was poorly conceived and executed."

Kuncham continued: "The teacher instructed three separate classes of students to develop captions for photos of post-war sharecroppers. We understand from our investigation that she told students to 'Make it funny' and 'Don't bore me'.

More examples of the 'insensitive' exercise set by the teacher. Credit: Facebook/Darlene McCurty
More examples of the 'insensitive' exercise set by the teacher. Credit: Facebook/Darlene McCurty

"Aside from the fact that this is a poor lesson, it is an insensitive trivialization of a deeply painful era for African Americans in this country, and it is unacceptable."

Kuncham also shared a message from the teacher, which said: "It is with the deepest sense of respect that I apologize to the students, families and larger Freeport community for my insensitive words and actions last week.

"As a teacher and fellow member of this school community, it is my responsibility to exercise the highest degree of care and thought in all of my student and staff interactions. I failed to do so last week, and I fully accept that I must work hard to rebuild trust from my students, colleagues and the community."

Kuncham said the union is working on its options with the teacher.

Featured Image Credit: Darlene McCurty/Facebook

Topics: News, US News

Jess Hardiman

Jess is a journalist at LADbible who graduated from Manchester University with a degree in Film Studies, English Language and Linguistics - indecisiveness at its finest, right there. She also works for FOODbible and its sister page Seitanists, which are both a safe haven for her to channel a love for homemade pasta, fennel and everything else in between. You can contact Jess at [email protected]

 

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