Parents pushed back after finding out a 10th grade English assignment told their children: “You are racist.”
ABC 7 News reports students at Somers High School in West Chester, New York texted photos of journal prompts from an optional assignment about “white fragility” to their parents.
“Most of them weren’t questions, they were statements: you are a racist,” mom Sarah Kooluris said to the ABC affiliate.
The controversial prompts on the handout were derived from Layla Saad’s book, “Me and White Supremacy.”
The assignment asked the students questions like, “How does your white fragility show up in conversations about race?” and “Have you ever weaponized your fragility against people of color?” per the outlet’s report.
Dom DeMartino, another parent in the school district, said he supports classroom discussions on race but called this method a “problem.”
“We want DEI, we want Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, but this person and the way the school has gone about things like this is what’s causing the problem,” DeMartino said.
While many of the parents were not happy about the lesson, some supported it.
Elena Sofko, another mom in the district said she wants the students to have difficult conversations about race because she says her students have experienced antisemitism in the schools.
School district officials responded by telling parents the assignment was not authorized and is contrary to the school’s instructional policies.
“We discovered today that a teacher at Somers High School introduced a lesson in 10th grade English classes that included excerpts from the book Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad. The lesson was immediately discontinued, and the excerpts were pulled from use in the classroom. The district was not aware that this particular lesson was being taught, nor that the excerpts were being used. We immediately began an investigation to determine how the text made it into the classroom,” an official statement issued by the district read.
It continued, “Somers High School staff will follow up with the students who were in class for this lesson to ensure that they are properly supported. We will also be reminding our faculty of our BOE policy as it relates to curriculum and classroom instruction. We are committed to ensuring that our classrooms are welcoming, balanced environments where all students are able to thrive.”