School officials investigating math homework about slavery

NORCROSS, Ga. — Gwinnett County schools officials are investigating whether to discipline teachers who gave third-grade pupils math homework with word problems about slavery, a spokeswoman said Monday.


The district is working with the school’s principal to address the matter after parents called last week upset over the worksheets, district spokeswoman Sloan Roach said. She said the district wants to “ensure that this does not happen again.”

“These particular questions were an attempt at incorporating some of what students had been discussing in social studies with their math activity,” Roach said in a prepared statement.

The NAACP has called for the firing of the nine teachers who sent home the questions and any other staffer involved in the homework.

“I refuse to believe the teacher or teachers responsible for allowing it to go forward did not understand fully what they were doing. We need to understand how deep this is,” state NAACP President Ed DuBose told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

One of the math problems reads: “Each tree has 56 oranges. If eight slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?”

Another was: “If Frederick got two beatings each day, how many beatings did he get in one week?”

District officials say one teacher wrote the questions, but the rest of the third-grade teachers used the handout.

“Who would think of such questions to ask third-grade children?” parent Nichole Thompson told WSB-TV. “I definitely want an apology. I want them to acknowledge that not only was this bad judgment on their behalf, but we need to do better.”