“I don’t teach him hate:” Parents at charter school raise concerns about assignment involving KKK

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MILWAUKEE -- Some parents at one Milwaukee charter school say a teacher gets a failing grade over a recent assignment. A classroom of predominantly African-American students was asked to write an essay from the perspective of a lawyer defending members of the KKK.

The Business and Economics Academy of Milwaukee (BEAM) says it specializes in teaching students and parents how to be financially accountable. But it's what happened last Thursday in a seventh-grade language arts class that has one mother upset.

Damaris Dorsey

Damaris Dorsey

"To even ask my child to write a paper like this -- his mind, level of thinking, is not there yet. I don't teach him hate. So therefore, he does not know the in-depth of the Ku Klux Klan," said Damaris Dorsey, concerned parent.

Dorsey says she refuses to sign off on her son doing the assignment next month.

A copy of a letter from the teacher says after watching the movie "To Kill a Mockingbird," students would write a persuasive paper defending Klan members on trial. It adds, "The goal of this paper is not to teach students the Klan was correct in its behavior, but rather to teach the students how to write persuasively."

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"These are young students, young children. This is not law class. If it was a Jewish child, they wouldn't give him an assignment to defend Hitler," said Tory Lowe, a community activist.

Lowe said parents let him know about the assignment. Both Lowe and Dorsey say the assignment seems more fitting for high school students.

"It`s mainly him being mature enough to articulate his own ideas on the paper regarding this and who would actually ask their child or their student...to defend the Ku Klux Klan member on trial?" Dorsey said.

Business and Economics Academy of Milwaukee

Business and Economics Academy of Milwaukee

On Monday afternoon, the school issued a statement saying the assignment has been pulled. It reads, in part, "We feel the choice of topic is inappropriate for a seventh-grade class."

The charter school is authorized by Milwaukee Public Schools, but has its own board of directors. That board decided to pull the assignment and has suspended the teacher, who is African-American, while it reviews what happened.

Lowe said parents still plan to have a rally at the school on Tuesday, December 20th. They are calling for an open dialogue with school officials.

6 comments

  • confused

    Why not do the assignment? There’s an entire class of “the problem of whiteness” offered at UW. Yes these are 7th graders, it is more high school, but I agree with the teacher, words can be very persuasive. ANYone in the media, politics, even kids know how to paint a picture to look rosy and innocent. Lawyers do it every day-from murderes to juvenile car jackings.

    • LOL

      Not only are they kids…but who would want to write a paper defending the group of people that has LITERALLY tried to destroy your race from day one! This isn’t a paper on whites this is a paper on THE KKK a group of whites who have tried to rid the earth of anyone not white!! Had I been a parent at that school being Hispanic I would have thrown that paper in her face and sent her to the hospital. That is a topic that you should no not to touch with a 10 foot pole! Straight Retarded and Even more Retarded you agree its okay! You and that Teacher need help!

  • Huh !

    Why not teach your child about hate AND WHAT”S WRONG WITH IT…….Children know and feel quite a bit more than parents think…….ask yourself, what are the ages of gangbangers and carjacking or shooting suspects…..As far as Hitler and the Jewish people, many Jewish students in the school system did/do have assignments regarding the mentality of the nazi regime

  • diised

    From a different perspective, how about the public defenders trying to defend a rapist, or murderer, or drug dealer? The point is, even though the lawyer knows the defendant is guilty, they still are required to be persuasive to the jury even though they did not agree with what the defendant did. This was not about the KKK, but about persuasive argument. I, as a white male, agree that the KKK was and is EVIL. There is no room in this country for the hate and destruction that the KKK inflicted on NOT JUST BLACKS, but anyone who didn’t align with their agenda or meet their ethnic requirements. The point is, how much more of a polarizing subject can you find than this. The puzzling part to me, is the fact that a black teacher assigned this, and the outlash (s)he received for it. I could see how this could be perceived as racist or as white supremacy propaganda if the assigning teacher was white, but that’s not the case.

    • confused

      Dised: That was exactly my point. But i gots myself a new one for even posting lol People read what they want to in posts INSTEAD of the entire post.

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