Parents outraged by 'offensive' homework given to first grade students by school
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Parents are outraged after children were given a homework assignment many have deemed culturally insensitive.
The maths homework features illustrations of Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark who are known for embarking on a journey across the American West from May 1804 to September 1806.
The journey - known as the Lewis and Clark Expedition - was aided by Sacagawea, a Shoshone woman who helped Lewis and Clark in a number of ways including navigation, translation and finding food.
Sacagawea, who was born in 1788 or 1789, was kidnapped by the gun-possessing Hidatsa tribe in 1800. She became part of French-Canadian fur trader Toussaint Charbonneau’s property in 1803 or 1804. Charbonneau was also part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and he and Sacagawea were married and they had two children, with their first son Jean Baptiste Charbonneau born during the Expedition in February 1805.
Sacagawea is also depicted in the children’s math assignment, which has drawings of Lewis and Clark holding a musket.
Rashida Aikens, whose six-year-old first grade cousin was given the homework, told WSB Atlanta 2 that the homework was ‘racist’ and said it ‘depicted gun violence’.
She added: “There was different imagery that could have been used aside from two white males with a gun and the answer was a brown girl.”
Aikens plans to discuss the issue with other parents at the school to ensure the homework is completely removed from homework packets.
She told the news station: "We need to vet the curriculum more than we are at this point."
The Newton County Board of Education released a statement to apologise to parents and offered an explanation regarding the meaning behind the assignment.
“In the math assignment, cartoon graphics of Sacagawea and Lewis and Clark holding a musket were incorporated in flash cards designed to practice math skills," the statement began. "Unfortunately, out of context, the cartoon graphics, which include Lewis & Clark holding a musket, may appear insensitive. That was most definitely not our intention.”
Parents have been told to remove the math homework from their children's packet. “The NCSS instructional team has been made aware of the concern and as a result, parents will be notified that they can remove the math assignment from the packet. We work hard to be sensitive to matters such as these and we apologize if anyone was offended by our efforts.”