Elementary School Math Problem On 'Slaves' And 'Masters' Has Internet Outraged

by Alexandra Strickler

Parents of children attending a school in Los Angeles are outraged after second-graders were given a homework assignment featuring a math problem about slaves and masters.

Yes, you read that correctly.

The controversial math problem asked young pupils at Windsor Hills Elementary School to figure out how many slaves were needed to pick cotton on a plantation.

NBC San Diego

One parent, Kelly Gray, told NBC San Diego she refused to let her seven-year-old daughter complete the homework assignment, which was administered during Black History Month.

"It's definitely disturbing using terms like plantation, master — my daughter doesn't know what these things mean," she said.

However, Gray does not believe that this represents a racial issue, nor does she blame the teacher, as the assignment was given to all second-graders at Windsor Hills Elementary.

On the other hand, the child's grandmother, Karol Gray, was more straightforward about her feelings regarding the disturbing assignment.

NBC San Diego

"Someone could have said, 'No! Are we really giving this assignment?'" she said. "I can't imagine a month of any year of any era when this would be appropriate."

Karla Clark, another parent of a child attending the school, was equally baffled.

"This is Black History Month — it's hard enough to know you have ancestors who were slaves, but to hear it's blown up in this type of way is disturbing," she said.

School officials at Windsor Hills Elementary are reportedly investigating the case.

Michelle King, of the LA Unified School District, released a statement:

L.A. Unified is committed to providing a safe, welcoming, nurturing and secure learning environment for our students. All employees are expected to treat students with respect. The District takes this matter seriously, is investigating it and will take appropriate administrative measures.

Although Karol Gray does not believe anyone was intentionally being malicious, she noted that no one was being cautious, either.

Well said, Ms. Gray.

Citations: Parents' fury after school gives young children a homework assignment which includes math questions about SLAVES (Daily Mail), SEE IT: Second-grade students in L.A. given questionable math homework with words 'slave,' 'master' and 'cotton' (New York Daily News)