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Georgia school under fire for referencing slavery in word problems

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Parents of students at Beaver Ridge Elementary School in Norcross, Georgia are up in arms over racially charged language used in word problems on a math worksheet, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. According to the paper, the word problems contain references to slavery and beatings, asking students, "If Frederick got two beatings a day, how many beatings did he get in 1 week?" and "Each tree had 56 oranges. If 8 slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?" Geez, what happened to "if Elspeth has three times as many jellybeans as Juan, how many jellybeans does Kim have"?

Although parents at the school were infuriated by the content of the worksheet, some were more incensed by how officials in the school district reacted to the incident. While district spokesperson Sloan Roach says the questions were intended to promote "cross-curricular activity" by using examples from social-studies lessons, parents in the school district — which is largely made up of minority students — are calling for an apology and mandatory diversity training for all faculty and staff members at the school. "I think the teachers should be reprimanded for using that poor judgment, and an apology should be made," community activist and parent Jennifer Falk says. "But the bigger question is how could something like this happen?"

Apparently, the answer to Falk's question is good old-fashioned, bureaucratic ineptitude: while school district policy calls for the institutional review of worksheets before they're handed out to the class, that step was evidently bypassed before Beaver Ridge third-graders got their Stormfront-endorsed math lesson. But school officials promise that the teachers are learning "how to come up with more appropriate lessons," and long division and historical genocide will hereafter be kept separate in the elementary school curriculum.