• Parents upset over school assignment with slave lynching


    FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - A school assignment on slavery is not sitting well with some Johns Creek parents.

    The assignment, which included a political cartoon depicting lynching of slaves, was part of a lesson on the Civil War at River Trail Middle School.

    “It looks like a Ku Klux Klan flyer of a lynching,” parent Emzie Glass told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik. “In the background of the picture you can see what look like bodies or people hanging from trees in the background.”

    Glass and parent Jeff Royster told Petchenik they felt the cartoon was too graphic for middle school students to discuss.

    “I thought that was pretty over the top for an eighth-grader to have to handle,” said Royster.

    Both parents said the assignment was the latest in what they consider a pattern of racially insensitive teachings at the school by the students’ social studies teacher.

    “He had made a comment that slavery should have not ended with a war, but should have ended with just sentiments in the South changing,” said Royster.  “They’re teaching the things that don’t offend whites.”

    Thursday, the school hosted some Civil War memorabilia collectors, and Glass said some parents opted to keep their kids home from school in protest of the assignment.

    “I think this was a good time for us to reiterate our concerns to the principal regarding how this subject is being taught in the school,” Glass said.

    Fulton County schools spokeswoman Susan Hale told Petchenik the district was made aware of allegations of racially insensitive remarks made by one teacher, but she said they have not been able to find evidence of the claims. 

    As for the assignment, Hale said it is an approved handout that is part of the curriculum.

    Fulton County Schools released the following statement:

    “The political cartoon was included in a packet of class materials about the Civil War and Reconstruction. In retrospect, we regret that it was not shared with students in a more culturally sensitive way and that families were not given the proper context for the material. We are reviewing this situation so we can learn from it.”

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