Parents Protest Slavery Math Lesson

Gwinnett, Co. (WAOK/AJC)-WAOK Talk show host and community activist Derrick Boazman led a group of parents in a protest outside of the Beaver Ridge Elementary school Tuesday after a lesson on Frederick Douglass prompted third-grade teachers to use slave beatings to teach math concepts.

The protest was held as some parents of third-graders who saw the homework assignment met with the school’s principal.

About 60 parents, community activists and church leaders assembled outside the school. A few carried signs that read: “Shame on them” and “The teachers need to be fired.” Some drivers passing by the demonstration honked to show support.

Parent Christopher Braxton, who complained to the district about the slave math questions, said his son’s class was being led by a substitute teacher for the second day in a row as the investigation into the incident continues.

Braxton said Beaver Ridge Principal Jose DeJesus would not elaborate on the status of the probe or his son’s teacher.

“They apologized for the situation and said they could not speak about it further until they finish the investigation,” Braxton said.

Four of the school’s third-grade classrooms received the assignment, which made references to slaves picking oranges and filling baskets with cotton. It also included the question: “If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in one week?”

This is the second time in two years race and ethnicity on a homework assignment sparked complaints at Gwinnett Schools. There was a similar incident in Cobb Schools last fall.

Gwinnett Schools human resources officials are investigating the Beaver Ridge incident to decide whether punitive action is necessary. District officials said they would work with math teachers to come up with more appropriate questions.

Ed DuBose, Georgia NAACP president, had a strong view: “The teachers, the staff responsible for allowing this to go forward should be fired.”

The district would not release the teachers’ names or races.

Read more in this report from the AJC

More from Jean Ross
  • Ken

    At my age I just don’t trip when whites folk do what they do so naturally: Clown anybody that’s not them. It’s just what they do. Some states better, some states worst. They can’t help it.

    • The Black Falcon

      The listeners to WAOK are programmed to think that the White man is holding Black folk down. It really is a self-defeatest attitude. Further, the teacher who wrote the questions was Hispanic, not White. But I guess things like facts shouldn’t get in the way or alter your programming.

    • porsha

      Ken, my brother, do you also feel this way about the APS school system and its failure to properly educate black children with a predominately black board, and staff?

      You see i hear the debates all day long over Ron Clark, the white man that is doing an outstanding job of educating black children and preparing them to excell in life through the power of a good solid education and exposure.

      With all the blackness within APS, they should be making history with producing Georgia ‘s creme of the crop of educated young hopefuls, but is this the case? Then some of them want to argue and get upset about the press that this white man gets. Not everyone black has our kids backs and best interest at heart.

      We as black parents do more of a disservice to our kids than any other race ever could in or out of the school house. By sitting on the sidelines, putting ALL the resposibility on someone else to educate our children. Heck, some of us do not even care enough to get up early anf fix our kids a healthy breakfast, we put them on a bus early so they can eat free breakfast at the school. Some of us do not even care about their safety, sending them alone to catch the bus in the dark, dont let me get started on telling the truth, and nots even get started on the homework and PTA thing………………………………………….

      We as blacks need to stop pointing fingers at something we cannot prove, and look at the three fingers pointing right back at us that are so obvious.

  • Kacw

    Black Falcon, while I do agree with yo that the WAOK conversation does promote “victimized” thinking, I don’t agree that this particular topic should be regarded as one we should not address. No matter what the race of the teacher is, this type of behavior in a classroom is inappropriate, and highly insensitive. It’s also relevant to mention here that the ethnicity of this teacher in this matter doesnt surprise me. I have always recognized a certain “aire” of unwarranted superiority towards African-Americans from our Hispanic neighbors. It’s no secret that almost all other races feel like they’re better than Blacks.
    In summation, no matter what race this teacher is, he/she should be fired. I would never want him or her standing in front of a classroom teaching and thereby influencing my child. Teaching is not and should not be for everyone.

    • The Black Falcon

      I agree. The only reason I mentioned the race of the teacher is because Ken assumened the person behind the incident was white (read his first sentence).

      • Ken

        Oh Black Falcon……….please don’t hurt me! I’m fresh outta kryponite and don’t know how to weaken your knowledge. You know exactly what my point was. Got nothing to do with being a “victim”. Go experience the rest of the globe and then comeback and holla. Their was nothing inaccurate with my statement. And if you really knew what Hispanics thought of you…… know what….forgetaboutit!

    • porsha

      Kacw, i agree with you totally. Why would any teacher use examples and make a mockery out of slavery to get a point across. This is why we as black parents need to know who is teaching our kids, why they want to teach our kids, and how they are teachig our kids.

      There are people of ALL COLORS including blacks that believe that black children are not worth the trouble of recieving love kindness and good educations , especially if they are poor and dont come to the table with a whole lot.

      My strongest belief in life is that the purpose of a good education is to arm with you power……………………… if the education our kids are recieving is dumbing them down, where will their personal power develope?

      If you as a black parent send your child to a school, any school in any district, you had better get involved or let someone black, white, hispanic, or green, destroy your childs mind and chances of excelling in life.

  • The Black Falcon

    I don’t know what you point was, but I know what you wrote. If you cannot express your thoughts, in print, then it is not my knowledge you should call into question, it is your own.

  • Smokeyab

    Ken, calm down. I thught you said that you didnt “trip” easily. You are straight up tripping Boo!

  • DeborahServant

    It’s attitudes like Ken’s that lend to the perpetuation of such unspeakable acts of sheer ignorance…. white or hispanic. You just accept shiznit as it is by dumbing-down with your “Oh well, that’s how it is attitude” I don’t know how old you are Ken, but at no age, even third grade, should we accept or allow others to teach, interract or mistreat our children, teens or young adults in such a way. I pray that in this new year, you gain some enlightenment.

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