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School Places Teacher on Leave Over Assignment Involving Obama

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A school placed a teacher on leave over an assignment involving former President Barack Obama.

According to NBC affiliate WDIV of Detroit, the assignment asked, “Which of the following are primates?” and showed an image of Obama next to other animals.

The incident occurred at The Roeper School in Michigan.

Carolyn Lett, the Director of Diversity for the school, told the outlet, “When I saw it I couldn’t believe it.”

She added, “Is it something that the teacher did. You know, purposefully put this picture in along with the animals and the apes and the primates. I’m trying to understand this myself. But right away I had a reaction. like, ‘it’s so wrong I can’t understand it.'”

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Lett explained, “She had her biology hat on but didn’t realize the sensitivity and awareness she should have had culturally.”

Additionally, the school issued a statement responding to the incident.

“On behalf of Roeper School’s leadership, we want to acknowledge the disturbing racial offense contained in an assignment with an upper school class last week. The choice to use this piece of curriculum was completely inconsistent with our School’s philosophy and mission and we sincerely apologize for its use and the harm it has caused,” the statement reads.

Did the school make the right decision?

It continues, “While the teacher has taken responsibility and admits the mistake of not properly vetting the resource, we know that is not enough and she has been placed on administrative leave until further notice.”

According to the school, it was established “with the goal of educating children to become thoughtful, humane adults.”

The school said it remains “committed to doing the important work of educating ourselves and the community in diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, and yet on this occasion, we did not live up to those core values. We know that our work in cultural competencies is vital and must be ongoing to ensure an inclusive learning environment for our students.”

The school went on to declare it would implement “greater care and more thorough review of curriculum with a specific focus on cultural competencies.”

It would also continue “professional development for faculty and staff in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice work with a specific focus on racial bias and cultural competencies” and “counseling and support resources for our students.”

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