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Michigan Biology Teacher Used a Racially Insensitive Worksheet


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Posted (edited)

A Michigan biology teacher got in a bit of trouble.


A biology teacher at a Michigan private school for gifted students is on administrative leave after distributing an assignment worksheet last week in which a picture of former US President Barack Obama was included among pictures of several animals, including primates.

The teacher's choice to use the curriculum with the "disturbing racial offense...was inconsistent" with the school's mission and philosophy, the Roeper School said in a statement to CNN.

Roeper's middle and high school campus is located in Birmingham, Michigan, a suburb north of Detroit, and is described on its Twitter page as "a uniquely personalized, coeducational school for gifted and talented children in preschool through grade 12."

"We sincerely apologize for its use and the harm it has caused," the school said in its statement. "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."

I know humans are primates but I would have played it safe and not included any pictures of humans of any race or culture on such an assignment, period.  There's just too much racial and cultural baggage to risk it, and I think no matter what specific racial type of human (Caucasian, African, Asian, Native American, Aboriginal, etc) it would have been racially insensitive at best to include it on the worksheet.  

I think the teacher would have been OK if they had not included an image of President Obama's or any other human for that matter on the worksheet.  If it was me I would have built my own worksheet with the pictures of the other primates.  I would have either had a true/false question asking students if humans are primates or put a statement on saying that students should note that humans are also primates. 

Edited by 47of74
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