An entire group of teachers at a middle school has been placed on administrative leave after they gave students a history assignment that included a question parents found “totally inappropriate.”
In the era of “woke” progressivism and social justice, the Sun Prairie Area School District in Wisconsin become another target of offense after a historically accurate question sparked outrage. In fact, the singular question caused such controversy that multiple teachers were immediately placed on administrative leave.
According to Newsweek, the school district announced that they have suspended a “small group” of teachers following a controversial question on a social studies homework assignment. In a lengthy email, the district offered an apology to parents, students, and the community for the “grave error” its educators committed in posing the scenario to pupils.
The assignment asked students how they would punish a disobedient slave in ancient Mesopotamia. (Photo Credit: Facebook)
The assignment focused on the subject of ancient Mesopotamian culture and Hammurabi’s Code, which is a 3700-year-old legal system that issued outdated and barbaric punishments for crimes. The question that evoked such outrage posed a realistic ancient scenario in which sixth-graders were asked how they would punish a disobedient slave in accordance with Hammurabi’s Code, which would include the death penalty.
“A slave stands before you,” the question reads. “This slave has disrespected his master by telling him ‘You are not my master!’ How will you punish this slave?”
A screenshot of the question circulated on social media, prompting users to attribute racist intent to the teachers who assigned the lesson. Bizarrely, the question concerning slavery in ancient Mesopotamia and the now mostly defunct laws that enabled it was immediately twisted into a reference to the historical enslavement of blacks in the U.S.
“These crazy white folks done lost they mind. Definitely not ok. Unacceptable,” one person replied.
“Wisconsin is the #1 worst place to raise an African American child and this shows,” another commented.
“District outta be ashamed of themselves this is completely unacceptable. They should have APOLOGIZED to your child, you, his entire class and every other black person in the school district. I’m so pissed this happened at the school cuz my son go there too. Wtf else kind of racist s— goin on there that we don’t know about. How disappointing,” another wrote.
The question was in reference to the 3700-year-old Hammurabi’s Code, which ordered the death penalty for a disobedient slave. (Photo Credit: Pixabay)
Some exposed their own ignorance by admitting they were never taught about Hammurabi’s Code, which is the basis for all modern Western legal systems due to its realization of the concept of innocent until proven guilty. Others falsely suggested that slavery no longer exists, despite its rampant continuation throughout countries in Africa and the Middle East to this day.
“I’m old as dirt and I have neva heard of this ‘Code’ this assignment is suppose to be based about,” one person admitted.
“I’m just trying to get a visual on WHATS THE LESSON HERE. Slaves don’t even exist anymore anyways,” another wrote.
“That’s where I’m like who the f— still has slaves?” yet another asked.
As tensions rose, the Sun Prairie Area School District issued an email not only assuring parents that the teachers involved in the lesson had been removed but also apologizing and explaining the basis for the assignment.
“Today an assignment was given in some of our 6th grade Social Studies classes that was exploring the politics of ancient Mesopotamia. A portion of the assignment asked students to answer scenarios around Hammurabi’s Code,” the email read. “The purpose of the activity was to help students understand how order was kept in the early civilization, how the laws were developed, and how unjust they were. One of the scenarios posed was directly related to the treatment of slaves in Mesopotamia; this was upsetting to students and parents. Above all, the assignment hurt our African American community. We regret that this assignment was not racially conscious and did not align to our district’s mission and vision of equity. We know that it caused harm to our students and their families. Our intent missed the mark, and for that we are deeply sorry.”
Of course, the historical relevance has fallen on deaf ears as many continue to express their outrage. As such, district officials are now being inundated with demands for racial sensitivity and equity training.
The district confirmed that the teachers involved were immediately suspended and the history lesson was thrown out. An internal investigation was also launched to conduct an “intensive review” of the social studies curriculum through “the lens of racial trauma and curriculum violence.”
The reaction to a single question without context is undeniably disturbing. Canceling such teachings of history because they are uncomfortable is dangerous to our future, especially those who were victimized in the past. Now, the students will likely never learn about key elements of history that have contributed to both our modern-day failures and progress.
People have adopted the false belief that teaching history as it happened is a condonation of it. History is uncomfortable by nature because human beings are deeply flawed. If our children aren’t taught these uncomfortable truths, they will make their own futures even more uncomfortable for both themselves and others.