NY Teacher Has Students Write 'Funny' Slavery Photo Captions - NBC10 Boston
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NY Teacher Has Students Write 'Funny' Slavery Photo Captions

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    Slavery Photo Assignment Sparks Protests on LI

    An eighth grade teacher in Freeport asked students to caption photos of black slaves — and make them funny. Now parents are demanding the teacher be removed and for her to lose her teaching certification. NBC New York’s Greg Cergol reports.

    (Published Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019)

    Parents on Long Island are calling for a teacher to lose her job and her teaching certificate after instructing students to write captions for a photo depicting slavery — and telling them to “make them funny.”

    The social studies teacher gave the assignment to an eighth grade class at Dodd Middle School in Freeport, New York, in September. The teacher, who is white, gave out worksheets containing Reconstruction Era photos with the instructions to give them titles and captions that “don’t bore me.”

    After a grandmother for one of the students detailed the assignment on social media, other students who had the teacher in the past have come forward alleging the seasoned teacher has given assignments like this before.

    On Tuesday, parents and other protested outside the school to have the teacher fired, and have her certification revoked so she can’t teach anywhere else.

    Dr. Kishore Kuncham, the superintendent of Freeport Schools, called the lesson “poorly conceived and executed … an insensitive trivialization” that is unacceptable. The instructor has been placed on administrative leave, and issued an apology through the district.

    “I apologize for my insensitive words and actions. It is my responsibility to exercise the highest degree of care and thought...I failed to do so,” the apology read.

    However, many at the protest said the apology is not enough — she needs to lose her job to prevent her from doing something like this again.

    Attempts to contact the teacher were unsuccessful, and the teachers’ union did not reply to a request for comment. The Freeport School District did issue a new statement later Tuesday saying she has been “administratively reassigned,” but did not elaborate on what the teacher’s future status with the school.