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Runaway Slave Homework Assignment Causes Stir In Port Chester School District

June 02, 2018 - 4:32 pm

PORT CHESTER, N.Y. (WCBS 880) -- An extra credit homework assignment in a Westchester school district has parents, students, and even alumni reacting.

"This school district is awesome," Jose Bautista said.

He said he minored in history thanks to the education he got in Port Chester.

The district is in hot water because of an assignment given out in history class on American slavery. A teacher asked students to create an ad for a runaway slave. The teacher gave students an example that may have appeared in the 19th century and refers to slaves as 'apes.'

It's not sitting well with and Bautista said he knows why.

"Initially, you know I did think due to you know the state that the country is in, and you know the high level of sensitivity, I did think it was a little harsh, and worded a little too direct," he said.

He said he remembers getting a similar assignment and doesn't blame the teacher.

"The intent was just to teach the students about a little bit of our history, it was just worded wrong, and maybe it shouldn't have been assigned like that," he said.

Nevertheless the district has launched an investigation into the assignment and said steps will be taken to make sure all staff members understand the gross impropriety of the assignment.