Michigan private school apologizes for assignment that compares Obama to monkeys

The Roeper School in Birmingham called the incident ‘a disturbing racial offense’

May 20, 2022 at 1:14 pm
click to enlarge An assignment used by Birmingham's private Roeper School uses a photo of President Barack Obama in  a worksheet asking students to identify primates. - Duke University
Duke University
An assignment used by Birmingham's private Roeper School uses a photo of President Barack Obama in a worksheet asking students to identify primates.

While white people are freaking out about a panic over "critical race theory" and overzealous "wokeness" cooked up by Fox News, good old-fashioned racism is still alive and well at some schools.

A private school in Michigan apologized after a worksheet surfaced that compared former President Barack Obama to monkeys. The assignment, used by the Roeper School in the Detroit suburb of Birmingham, asked students to identify photos of primates, and included the nation's first Black president among the pictures.

The school shared a statement with Metro Times on Friday calling the incident "a disturbing racial offense":

On behalf of Roeper School’s leadership, we want to acknowledge the disturbing racial offense contained in an assignment with an upper school class last week. The choice to use this piece of curriculum was completely inconsistent with our School’s philosophy and mission and we sincerely apologize for its use and the harm it has caused. While the teacher has taken responsibility and admits the mistake of not properly vetting the resource, we know that is not enough and she has been placed on administrative leave until further notice.

The Roeper School was founded in 1941 by educational pioneers George and Annemarie Roeper, who after fleeing Germany to escape Nazi persecution, established our school with the goal of educating children to become thoughtful, humane adults. As a school with a deep commitment to social justice for over 80 years, we must demonstrate greater care in the selection of content designed to guide our students. We remain committed to doing the important work of educating ourselves and the community in diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, and yet on this occasion, we did not live up to those core values. We know that our work in cultural competencies is vital and must be ongoing to ensure an inclusive learning environment for our students.

To that end, we will be immediately implementing the following:

• Greater care and more thorough review of curriculum with a specific focus on cultural competencies.

• Continuing professional development for faculty and staff in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice work with a specific focus on racial bias and cultural competencies.
• Counseling and support resources for our students.

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