Parents fear Black History Month homework assignment could create controversy

Parents fear Black History Month homework assignment could create controversy

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Channel 2 Action News has learned about a homework assignment some parents fear could go horribly wrong.

Diane and Peter Richey said the Cobb County School District gave the homework assignment, meant to celebrate Black History Month, to their second-grader, who attends Clarkdale Elementary School in Austell, before winter break.

The assignment asks students to make a presentation in character as an African-American figure.

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"You don't dress up as another race. That seems to be something we've universally agreed on lately," Peter Richey told Channel 2's Justin Wilfon.

The Richeys said they were stunned when their daughter came home with the assignment.

“Coming dressed as African-American. I was a little shocked that that’s what they were asking,” Diane Richey said.


The Richeys strongly agree with most of the Black History Month assignment, which calls for students to make the presentation about the historical figure, but they believe the part about dressing in character puts white students in a tough spot.

“Some people could go too far with it, and it could cause problems for either the school or the parents,” Diane Richey said.

“They could inadvertently deeply offend somebody,” Peter Richey said.

When Wilfon reached out to the Cobb County School District, a spokesperson did not directly respond to the parents' concerns, but did say, "Schools across the district are encouraging learning through a variety of engaging activities that will help students better understand the tremendous impact African-Americans have had throughout history.”

“It’s tone-deaf. That’s the word I’m looking for. It’s tone-deaf,” Peter Richey said.

The Richeys said the district told them that if their daughter is uncomfortable with the assignment, she can sit in a different room during the presentations, a solution the Richeys do not like.