Michigan school assignment compares President Obama to monkeys
The Roeper School released a statement to Fox 2 on Tuesday saying it was reviewing the circumstances of the incident.
A school for gifted students in Birmingham, Michigan, has come under fire after a teacher handed out an assignment that featured pictures of primates alongside a photo of former President Barack Obama.
The educator at the Roeper School — which describes itself on its website as “the oldest preschool through grade 12 school for the gifted in the nation” — handed out the assignment earlier this month in a high school biology class, according to Fox 2 in Detroit.
The worksheet asked students to look through the images of various animals and select the ones that were primates. One of those options was Obama, according to images circulating on social media.
The Roeper School released a statement to Fox 2 on Tuesday saying it was aware of the assignment and was currently reviewing its circumstances.
The station said it had obtained a letter that was sent to parents in which the school claimed the worksheet was taken from a university website and acknowledged that it was racially offensive and harmful.
Some social media users have called out officials at the Roeper School, saying the teacher must have known what was going on.
“There’s not noticing a typo, and then there’s not noticing Barack Obama’s face next to a bunch of monkeys,” said one user. “The teacher knew.”
The school reportedly declined to provide further information to protect the privacy of its community members, per Fox 2. It is offering counseling services to students and said it will continue to provide staff training aimed at combating racial biases on campus, according to the outlet.
The Roeper School, with tuition costs of around $30,000 a year, says on its website that 31% of faculty and students are people of color.
A diversity statement on the school’s online homepage reads: “Justice requires that we respect the dignity and worth of every individual by providing equality of opportunity for those to whom opportunities have been historically denied. At Roeper, we believe that our cooperative community respects and embraces diversity thereby emphasizing the relationship between the individual and the community.”
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