A Detroit-area school suspended one of its teachers after she had passed out a worksheet to students comparing Barack Obama to monkeys. The Birmingham Roeper High School has been doing damage control since its high school biology teacher assigned the worksheet last week. The matter was brought to the attention of the school director of diversity, Carolyn Lett, who said she couldn’t believe the racist act was done at the prestigious school.
According to the New York Post, the worksheet was handed out to about 30 students where it asked the students to identify primates from a slew of photos that were labeled as apes, monkeys, lemurs and had included a photo of the former U.S. President. Word spread about the worksheet with the school canceling classes on Thursday due to alleged threats that were received.
The faculty member, who is described to be Asian-Pacific American, was immediately put on administrative leave after taking responsibility and admitting her mistake. Based on the teacher’s explanation, she failed to notice Obama’s photo included in the gallery of photos and claimed she was “horrified” by the worksheet.
“When this was brought to her attention she was horrified herself, and almost like beating herself up, like ‘How did I miss this,'” Lett said.
“That’s how she explained it.”
The particular lesson was reportedly created by two undergraduate students from Duke University and has since been removed from its website. The $30,000 tuition per year Roeper School continues to apologize for the incident as they vowed to ramp up its effort to train their teachers on racial issues
Clay Thomas, chair of Roeper Board of Trustees said, “It is made all the more challenging for us because it is the antithesis of who we are as a school.”
Roeper School is the oldest school in the United States that caters to gifted kids. It prides itself on educating students who come from different races, and socioeconomic backgrounds as well as students belonging to diverse ethnicities.
The school board of trustees adopted an anti-racism resolution in May 2021 where they have claimed to adopt beliefs focused on Black lives matter condemning ongoing social injustice such as the killings of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).
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