An Indian Head, Maryland, school teacher is under fire after he reportedly directed students to list names of black people killed by police as a homework assignment.
What are the details?
Henry E. Lackey High School teacher John Folse — a special education teacher, according to The Southern Maryland Chronicle — reportedly issued the assignment through the Charles County Public Schools’ online learning portal on Wednesday.
The homework assignment — which directed students to list the names of “black people killed by police” — drew immediate criticism.
Titled “Say Their Names,” a portion of the assignment reads, “Write a list of black people killed by police since Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. You need to write their name, the date of their death, and the place.”
“For extra credit,” the assignment continues, “write a sentence or two about the circumstances of their deaths.”
A snapshot of the assignment appeared on a local Facebook group, where it reportedly sparked a vast response.
On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Charles County Public Schools issued a statement on the assignment.
“A topic such as the one raise in this assignment is inappropriate as a stand-alone written assignment,” the spokesperson said. “The teacher presented the assignment without background, lesson plans, or in-class discussion guided by a teacher.”
The statement added, “Social justice topics are a meaningful way to engage students in the curriculum. Charles County Public Schools uses the curriculum to guide the discussion of social justice topics. Teachers write and review lesson plans with fellow educators and content specialists based on the Maryland standards. Teachers also receive training on how to engage students in discussions about current events that might involve sensitive issues.”
Regardless, the district insisted that it encourages “thoughtful discussion of current events and expect teachers to approach these lessons with sensitivity for all viewpoints.”
According to WUSA-TV, one parent said, “These students are still children. Yes, they are people who are about to go into the real world and that type of thing, but this is triggering for adults when these types of things happen. So, are children, although almost adults, able to handle this psychologically?”