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School assignment asks 5th grader to ‘roleplay as a slave master,’ PA parent says

Miami Herald
A Pennsylvania parent took to TikTok after finding her fifth-grade daughter’s school assignment asking her to “roleplay as a slave master.”

She held up the worksheet filled out by her daughter, which tasked students in the Conemaugh Township school district with creating a “wanted ad for a slave,” according to the video.

“I couldn’t believe what I was looking at,” the woman said in the video posted to TikTok around March 17.

Conemaugh Township school district has since apologized for the assignment, saying a different approach should have been used to teach about slavery, WJAC reported.

“The assignment has been eliminated from the class and the district deeply apologizes to all who were offended by the assignment. The matter is, otherwise, being handled internally and measures are being taken to ensure that an unfortunate event like this does not happen again,” the school district said in a statement to WJAC.

McClatchy News reached out to the school district for comment March 22 but did not immediately respond.

The woman said her daughter had one point taken off on the assignment for her answer to what the slave’s living quarters would be, the worksheet showed.

“They took a point away for her treating (the slave) like a human,” she said in the video.

The woman said she reached out to her daughter’s teacher and the school to inquire about the assignment and where it originated from. The fifth grader’s teacher replied to the parent, saying it was created by them and a co-teacher, the woman said in the video.

Later, she received a call from the school’s principal and the teacher.

“It didn’t go too well,” the parent said.

According to the woman, the teacher told her the assignment was “meaningful” and that it was important to help students “see from a slave owner’s point of view.”

“I feel like she did not see what was wrong with giving these kids that assignment,” the parent said in the video.

The parent added that she had a positive view of her daughter’s teacher. “However I don’t like this assignment she gave my child,” she said in the video.

After she asked the teacher and principal to remove the assignment from the curriculum, the woman hung up the phone. She said she later received a call from the school superintendent assuring her the worksheet would not be used again.

Ultimately, the parent said she does not want the teacher fired.

“I want this to be a learning experience for other educators, for other parents, for everyone,” the parent said. “We need to learn from this. This is not okay.”

Conemaugh Township is about a 90-mile drive southeast from Pittsburgh.

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