Pennsylvania school apologizes for assignment asking students to imagine being a slave master – Washington Examiner

A school in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, has issued an apology for a school assignment given to fifth-grade students that asked them to pretend to be “a white master looking to buy a slave.”

Kenneth and Shannon Poole had been alerted when their daughter, a student at Conemaugh Township Elementary School, had brought the assignment home. The students had been asked to list what attributes they would like in their hypothetical slave, with the Pooles’ daughter losing points when she wrote that she would “treat the slaves nicely.”

“I don’t think that we should be teaching our fifth graders or putting them in the frame of mind of what it’s like to own another human being or what qualifications hypothetically you would want in them,” the parents told WJAC-TV. “And I question the educational value of the assignment because if we’re asking our students to pretend to be slave masters or anything like that, why are we giving them points off if they said they’d treat a slave with empathy? That seems to suggest that there’s a certain type of response that’s correct or incorrect.”

The parents contacted both the teacher and the school’s principal, though school officials initially did nothing to remove or apologize for the homework. After the parents explained the situation on social media, the school district’s superintendent, Nicole Dull, issued an apology and announced that the assignment had been eliminated.

Dull stressed that the assignment was originally intended to help students understand slavery, but that a different approach to the topic should have been taken.


“As parents we have an obligation to represent our children and to help them and make sure they are OK,” Kenneth Poole said.

The Washington Examiner has contacted Dull for comment.