NORCROSS -- A local elementary school principal responded Tuesday to a wave of negative attention this week after a homework assignment given to third-graders got the NAACP's attention.
Beaver Ridge Principal Jose DeJesus posted a letter to the school's website to inform parents "of some community and media activity that occurred in front of our school" on Tuesday. He said the NAACP held an event in front of the school "to express their concerns about a homework assignment that went home" last week.
Gwinnett County schools officials are investigating whether to discipline teachers who gave third-grade students math homework with word problems about slavery.
DeJesus said a worksheet created by one of the school's teachers was sent home last week with four classes.
He said third-graders have been studying famous Americans and had been reading about Frederick Douglass, a former slave. "These particular questions were an attempt at incorporating some of what students had been discussing in social studies with their math activity," DeJesus said.
The NAACP has called for the firing of any teachers involved in creating and distributing 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," said state NAACP president Ed DuBose. "We need to understand how deep this is."
One of the homework questions reads: "Each tree has 56 oranges. If eight slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?"
Another question was: "If Frederick got two beatings each day, how many beatings did he get in one week?"
DeJesus said he understood parents concerns about the questions.
"While I encourage our teachers to create cross curricular lessons, my expectation is that those lessons be appropriate and provide true connection between the subject areas," DeJesus said. "That did not occur in this case and we are working to ensure that this does not happen again and that this situation is handled appropriately."
A spokesperson with the NAACP said DuBose planned to meet with Gwinnett County Public Schools Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks Tuesday night to discuss the matter.
--The Associated Press contributed to this report