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Principal responds to NAACP allegations

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

Comments

fliptopz4 2 years, 3 months ago

And these were the best question that college educated teachers could come up with??

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hpytravlr 2 years, 3 months ago

This subject is ridiculous. I would hate to have my entire career judged based on a single decision. Leave these people alone b/c you are not perfect either.

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Bruce 2 years, 3 months ago

Unbelievable. @hpytravlr, racism is so ingrained in people like you, you just don't know how your text reads....pathetic.

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news2me 2 years, 3 months ago

Bruce, did you sign on here to debate and punish everyone that does not agree with you 110%? You can read minds and everyone is a racist except you? Are you with the NAACP or something looks to stir up more trouble?

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ssilover1 2 years, 3 months ago

He may be with the NAACP but if the Gwinnett Branch were run by people like the late, former President John Stewart, this comment would not have been made. That is when we had a real NAACP. It did not jump to conclusions, yet opened significant dialog.

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ssilover1 2 years, 3 months ago

It is not racism to disagree with you. Unless you personally know the individual responsible and know that person to be a racist, you are one yourself. You have made a conclusion based on nothing. This could honestly be a failiure of judgement for which the person is truly sorry. ARe you so self-rightous?

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hpytravlr 2 years, 3 months ago

@ Bruce, It is a shame that you have no love or forgiveness in your heart. These teachers were trying to teach Fredrick Douglas to third graders. If that is the standard that must be taught by them then of course they might have to mention something, like beatings, to convey what life was like in America for a black person in the 1840s. What should they teach. Frederick Douglas lived in Baltimore and probably liked to eat Blue Crabs? Should they not teach that MLK was shot?

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MissDaisyCook 2 years, 3 months ago

Bruce, I doubt you even know the definition of racism. The teachers were asked to integrate subject areas and did so. Is there anything in those questions that was incorrect? Is the group of whinners trying to hide the fact that slavery existed from their children? Cannot figure out their agenda item on this one. Do they think third grade is to early to be teaching history; if so, that is a curriculum question. Hang in there Principal DeJesus and Superintendent Wilbanks; your position is the correct one.

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rwhughesjr 2 years, 3 months ago

The outrage should be directed at the grammar used in the question. The question should be "Each tree has 56 oranges. If eight slaves each pick an equal number of oranges, how many will each slave pick?" The wording from the test is not only somewhat offensive, but terribly ungrammatical. If this had been written by uneducated people, it would be understandable. However, to be written by people who presumably have a college degree, and in teaching no less, it is a black eye to the profession.

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ptm4936 2 years, 3 months ago

Gwinnett meet Derrick Bozeman. You will get along famously.

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Cherokee 2 years, 3 months ago

This morning on ABC news, I saw an African American father make the statement that African Americans are the only ethnic group that gets singled out. With all due repect sir, try being Native American, particularly at Thanksgiving and at sporting events. While the questions do seem a bit insensitive, I agree with MissDaisyCook. I do not believe that this was racially motivated. The teachers were attempting to reinforce facts learned in Social Studies class. Good teachers should not lose their jobs on an isolated incident of poor judgement.

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eleanor44 2 years, 3 months ago

Wow, I can't imagine being the parents who had to explain to their children why Frederick was being beaten. That's tough.

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judie 2 years, 3 months ago

Does the NAACP want the Hispanic and African American third grade teachers (that approved this) fired too? Or just the white ones?

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gregmack 2 years, 3 months ago

Let me see if I understand those who do not see anything wrong with these questions - so if there had been a history lesson that included discussion about Elizabeth Smart and that she had been raped in custody of her kidnappers, it would be ok to have a math question such as "if there were 5 men in the house with Elizabeth and 20% of the men raped her, how many men raped Elizabeth?"

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MissDaisyCook 2 years, 3 months ago

Yeah your right hot shot! We should just stick our heads in the sand and ignore/forget unpleasant history.

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myview 2 years, 3 months ago

I agree with gregmack. Picking oranges is one thing, but beatings is another. Discussing it in history class or social studies is understandable, but using it in a math question is totally unnecessary. Would you form math questions on how may soldiers had their legs blown off or how many scalps were taken? It doesn't have to be a race issue. Just use some common sense, human dignity and compassion.

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Bruce 2 years, 3 months ago

I didn't creat the story, nor am I a member of the NAACP. If I was, how is that relevant?

news2me, I'm just outraged at the story. I can tell you as a veteran, I have to ask, was this what we fight for?

MissDaisyCook, if a person in position of authority makes decisions, take actions or does nothing based on a racial consideration, then I would think that would be racist.

Further, I don't know the race of the teachers in question. One does not have to be white to be racist. You can be a Hispanic or African-American, and execute a racist agenda on your own race. Kids get suspended for less. Whoever is responsible should pay a price.

And MissDaisy, black people have opinions, too.

Times shoal changed.

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MissDaisyCook 2 years, 3 months ago

The true definition of racism is the belief of the inherit superiority of one race over another. Nothing in this issue is racist; racial maybe, but not racist. My father in WWII and my older brother killed in Vietnam fought for freedom, including academic freedom, not political correctness. You are certainly entitled to your opinion, no matter how off base it is. These poor teachers attempted to intergrate some unpleasant issues of our history with some math problems and are crucified for their efforts. Shame on those condemors!

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NewsReader 2 years, 3 months ago

Some of you people are just beyond stupid. First of all, I wouldn't dignify the NAACP with a response. Ed DeBose's job is to play the race card and gain as much publicity for the racist organization he runs. Second, should he or any of his followers set foot on school property without having sufficient reason to be there (i.e. a child enrolled in school), I would have them arrested and removed from the premises. They provide absolutely no educational value to the children attending school there, and in fact, disrupt the educational process with their self-serving agenda. Third, if you're going to criticize the questions posed by college educated teachers, perhaps you could get the grammar right yourself. Forth, MissDaisyCook is right on target. I see nothing wrong with cross pollination of educational activities to reinforce AKS. No need to ask or try to figure out what their agenda is MissDaisyCook. I think we all have a pretty good picture.

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Bruce 2 years, 3 months ago

DaisyCook your definition of racism is no more relevant than anybody elses, sorry. As for your father and older brother, respectfully, I'm sorry for your loss. I just don't understand what you do to make America better.

NewsReader, America created the NAACP. And just because your Klu Klux Klan is in hiding doesn't mean the old attitudes are suddenly gone. You would think people are that stupid.

As for your agreement with your sister DaisyCook, what is the historical relevance of a slave being beat a certain number of times during the week? Where is the educational value?

Sorry, but we shall overcome someday.

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NewsReader 2 years, 3 months ago

Let's get something straight. I don't approve of, nor condone, the actions of the Ku Klux Klan any more than I do the NAACP. I find both organizations repulsive. I find your insinuation insulting. I'll just treat you as the hostile little racist that you are since it appears stirring the pot is something you seem to be good at. This little race card you're playing ~ it's been played so often, we ignore it anymore. Do you have to work at being this stupid or is this just something that comes natural to you? Don't even bother to answer that. I'm not even going to dignify your ignorance with any further response.

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HonestIngine 2 years, 3 months ago

Forget the racism issue, the kids now a days don't know what a beating is....LOL Let the teacher's teach, let the kids learn. let the issue drop.. it's done, get over it... move on...you cannot change history, you want your kids to learn history or what...

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Bruce 2 years, 3 months ago

HonestIngine, the kids did not learn history in that math lesson. There was no historical value or significance in that lesson. And when you tell people to get over it like it doesn't matter to them, that is the true insult...it's what woke me up in the first place. As for not being able to do something about history, we can not change certain instances, however, I must note that the people who owned slaves, raised people that lynched people, raised people that watched lynchings who kept the secret, and raised people that tell other people to get over it.

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NewsReader 2 years, 3 months ago

You forgot to ask for your war reparations!

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Bruce 2 years, 3 months ago

NewsReader, you'll always be on the sideline!

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GetFactsStraight 2 years, 3 months ago

@Bruce

"America created the NAACP." False. A group of Americans created the NAACP (William Walling and WEB DuBois and others) just like a group of people created the KKK. Neither organization is above criticism. Before you call for punishment/terminating employment would it not be fair to get the whole story?

We don't know if these teachers are racist or ignorant. We don't know if they are racist or made a horrible mistake.

I think what everyone is trying to say is that you can't make an informed decision because you don't know the entire story.

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kevin 2 years, 3 months ago

The math questions may not have been the best choice of words but then again, if we can't use the word slave, then let's strike from all history books any mention of slavery in this country. For those of you that never read any history books, there were many other people that were treated like slaves in this country like the Italians and Jews, Polish people, and many others. There was never just one race that was mistreated when they came to this country. I wish everyone would start calling these people by their real identity--- American-African, American-Italian, American-Irish, etc. These people were born in America, not their native countries. If you were born in your native country and live here, then you are rightly called Italian-American, etc. If they don't like it this way, the doors are always open to leave here.

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Bruce 2 years, 3 months ago

@GetFactsStraight: I didn't think that I would have to explain that my comment "America created the NAACP" would have to be explained because I hoped the phrase would be recognized as figurative. Kids make mistakes in schools and are punished so why not punish the teacher, teachers or admin involved? That seems fair to me.

@kevin, so-called educated teachers, professional educators, as they so often refer to themselves should hold themselves to a higher standard. And striking the word slave from the history books would serve you and others well because it would hide any perceived guilt. You don't have anything to feel guilty about if you don't do, say, or feel anything wrong. But I guess that is obvious. Your true feelings are on display. And for you to assume that no one besides yourself ever picked up a history book, some say His-Story, is insulting and childish. Then you, have the audacity to invite others to leave this country as if they have not contributed to it. You live in a country that had contributions from persons of many ethic groups not just folks like you. You write as if you are speaking for your people, the owners of this country, and this is the attitude that is wrong. You are humorous, but I'm sad for your kids.

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NewsReader 2 years, 3 months ago

OK Bruce, I wasn’t going to dignify you with any further respone, but your narcissistic behavior warrants one. So here are my sideline comments, and then I rest my case you pompous windbag. There is stupid, and then there is you in a classification all by yourself. You should have started your last message with “…I didn’t think…” and just leave it at that. Nobody is saying the teachers shouldn’t be reprimanded. Most everyone agrees that it isn’t a terminating offense because there was no malicious intent involved. Nobody cares what seems fair to you. If you want fair, I’ll buy you a $5 ticket, and you can go to the fair. The fact is; life isn’t fair. If you want to hold our educated teachers to a higher standard, then pay them at a higher standard. Otherwise, manage your expectations accordingly. It absolutely amazes me how people put so much value on their material possessions, yet so little value on that which means the most to them; their children. And your quote “…You don’t have anything to feel guilty about if you don’t do, say, or feel anything wrong…” Do tell. What do we have to feel guilty about? I never owned any slaves. My parents never owned any slaves. My parents’ parents never owned any slaves. Their parents never owned any slaves and so forth and so on. So you have an entitlement mentality and expectation that I, who had absolutely nothing to do with any of the decisions made by people over 150 years ago, should feel guilty? That is RICH! That is really RICH! I do not advocate removing the word “slave” from any of the history books. History has to be forthright and truthful with all of the good, the bad, and the ugly for all of mankind to see. But your interest in the word “slave” is only to the extent that it promotes your own self-serving agenda in much the same way “African-American” does. You long to be desegregated and called an “American” so as to be treated equally right up until you can receive preferential treatment and benefit from segregating yourself by being “African-American”. You’re a joke. You’ll always be a joke. Make your case here because I’m quite certain none of your relatives or friends take you seriously. And yes, since I have native blood in my ancestry, I do have the audacity to invite you or any of your other hyphenated-Americans to leave. You need to get over it and get over yourself. Don’t you dare tell anyone or me our attitude is wrong, because it is for people like you that we have the attitude that we do. And I don’t dispute that there are people that have a racist agenda out there, the very least of which is you.

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