Kerri Roberts, a 5th grade teacher at Oak Pointe Elementary School, has been put on leave after giving students a homework assignment that asked, “You are there...You are a member of the KKK. Why do you think your treatment of African-Americans is justified?”
Tremain Cooper, the uncle of a black child in Roberts’s class, posted a copy of the assignment on social media last week.. “He had become upset because he thought he may get in trouble because he wasn’t able to complete his assignment,” Cooper said of his nephew, in an interview with WCNC.
The question comes just a month after the Charlottesville rally, in which KKK and neo-Nazis killed an anti-racist counterprotester and chanted anti-semitic slogans.
Lexington-Richland School District Five spokesperson Katrina Goggins told the New York Times, “South Carolina standards for fifth grade require lessons on Reconstruction and discriminatory groups, including the K.K.K. We must teach the standard, but we are taking steps to ensure this particular assignment will never be used again in District Five schools.”
“We understand the seriousness of this matter, particularly in light of the events taking place in our country at this time,” the statement continued. “We want to ensure that our students, parents, staff and community know that we are giving this matter our full attention.”
But addressing this issue after the fact isn’t really good enough. “I believe the conversation needs to be elevated,” Cooper said. “I want the conversation to be centered around including more black male and female teachers in the classroom.”