Several African-American parents in Milwaukee are fuming that a teacher assigned their seventh-graders to write an essay defending a Ku Klux Klan member, Fox 6 reports.
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 told the news outlet that she will not allow her son to do the assignment.
“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,” she said. “So therefore, he does not know the in-depth of the Ku Klux Klan.”
A letter from the teacher at the Business and Economics Academy of Milwaukee, a charter school, explained that the project came after the class watched the film To Kill a Mockingbird. The assignment was to write a persuasive essay defending a Klansman on trial.
“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,” the letter stated.
Community activist Tory Lowe told FOX that parents contacted him about the assignment.
“These are young students, young children,” he said. “This is not law class. If it was a Jewish child, they wouldn’t give him an assignment to defend Hitler.”
Lowe and Dorsey said that kind of assignment is better suited for high school students
NBC 4 reported that the teacher is African-American, and she has been removed from the classroom during a school probe of the incident. Officials said the assignment was inappropriate, but they doubt that the teacher had a malicious intent.