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Teacher who gave controversial assignment defends herself: “I am disappointed in the lack of truth being told”

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MILWAUKEE -- A substitute teacher for the Business and Economics Academy of Milwaukee (BEAM) who handed out a controversial assignment about the KKK spoke out for the first time on Tuesday, December 20th.

The assignment was to write a persuasive paper defending Klan members on trial. Many were unhappy to hear an assignment like this was given to a group of seventh graders. But the substitute teacher said this assignment has been taken out of context. She said there was no malicious intent -- and the assignment was only meant to push her students intellectually. For that, she said she will not apologize.

Business and Economics Academy of Milwaukee

Business and Economics Academy of Milwaukee

Tory Lowe

Tory Lowe

"I am shocked that you would ask a seventh grade African-American student to put himself in the mind frame of an organization that hates you because of the color of your skin," said an aunt of a student at BEAM.

"We've made our demands to make sure the environment is actually a good communicating learning environment for the children -- and that they shouldn't have to make decisions about the KKK. That's against us culturally and spiritually," said community activist Tory Lowe.

The substitute teacher said she sees it differently.

Business and Economics Academy of Milwaukee

"I am disappointed in the lack of truth being told," said Lydia Crape.

Crape spoke exclusively with FOX6 News on Tuesday. She has been at BEAM since the start of the school year. She said a research paper about the Ku Klux Klan followed by the watching of "To Kill a Mockingbird" has been taken out of context.

"It was totally for the critical thinking," Crape said.

BEAM controversial assignment:

Crape said students were looking forward to the assignment.

"Whenever anybody in my class gets excited about something, I will run with it," Crape said.

Business and Economics Academy of Milwaukee

Business and Economics Academy of Milwaukee

Crape said she received Principal William Butler's approval and he confirmed that. But a note on the school's website says the following:

"BEAM feels that the objective of teaching students how to write persuasively is important.  However, we feel that the choice of topic is inappropriate for a seventh grade class.  A new topic will be selected for the assignment."

Crape told FOX6 News she will not apologize for pushing her students to a new level of thinking.

Business and Economics Academy of Milwaukee

Business and Economics Academy of Milwaukee

Principal Butler gave FOX6 News a statement after a meeting with concerned parents on Tuesday morning. It reads as follows:

"We are continuing to improve not only academically but also the relationship we have with our parents. We look forward to having Ms. Crape back to work. We've got calls in support of her from community members and parents."

Business and Economics Academy of Milwaukee


    • MKE_RN

      Wow! Wonder where the “us” vs “them” attitude comes from? Try not catergorizing and name calling. I am on the side of the teacher. We will never be able to cope with and/or overcome hate unless we understand it. We have to challenge our youth to analytically process the mindsets of people that will judge them based solely on the color of their skin. It’s an unfortunate reality they will encounter.

  • confused

    I agree with the teacher-how to be persuasive with words. Today’s 7th graders have committed murder, stolen cars, robbed people at gunpoint, tried or abuse drugs and alcohol. They are more “grownup” 7th graders than 7th graders a generation ago. To have to study something you may not agree with is life.

    • Moronicstate

      It’s only the 7th graders in Kilwaukee. Other states actually charge juveniles with violent crimes as adults…not here in Wisconsin. This state is ran by idiots.

  • theylltakeyourguns

    Life in Trump’s new ‘murica. The KKK as classroom assignment. Was there no other topic available? They could have written an essay about prosecuting Cheeto Jesus at his upcoming impeachment.

    • Dwayne D.Swamp

      Trump won because this country will not be run by the east and west coast intolerant elite race bating smug liberal Democrats. Merry Christmas.

  • howdoilovethee

    Wait a minute. This was a substitute teacher? Meaning that the original curriculum was created by the regular teacher? The substitute was merely assigning lessons as created by someone else. Why isn’t that teacher being taken to task instead? I hope someone at FOX6 is looking into that.

  • JokeEnthusiast

    The KKK is a racist organization that I wish didn’t exist.

    However, this assignment is excellent. I don’t remember doing any writing remotely this complex in 7th grade. Maybe wait until high school before you get to this level of persuasive writing?

    • confused

      I thought more high school age appropriate too, but kids are a little more savvy these days. I’d like to have read some. Nice to see actual words instead of txt spk lol

Comments are closed.