A school district in upstate New York is getting a lot of heat online over a children’s homework assignment that has gone viral online.
The incident occurred in a sixth-grade classroom at Mill Middle School in the Williamsville Central School District. Sixth-grade students were asked to translate sentences from English into Spanish for their Spanish language class.
The second sentence on the homework assignment is “You (friendly) are Mexican and ugly.”
Further down on the page is a contrasting sentence: “You (politely) are pretty and American.”
One parent tweeted the offensive homework assignment, which quickly went viral online.
‘Can We Even Begin To Unpack All That Is Wrong Here?’
Shocked at this Spanish homework assignment in Williamsville Central School District loaded with such blatant racism. Can we even begin to unpack all that is wrong here? Who is developing this curriculum & where is the oversight?@SheriRodman @karenvaites @Remarsh76 @GholdyM pic.twitter.com/wO8sjU5fkv
— Allison Wainick (@AJ_WFlo) January 11, 2022
One person took to Twitter to share a snap of the offensive homework assignment, underlining the offensive sentences.
“Shocked at this Spanish homework assignment in Williamsville Central School District loaded with such blatant racism,” they wrote. “Can we even begin to unpack all that is wrong here? Who is developing this curriculum & where is the oversight?”
People immediately piled onto the post to ask “is this real?” Many confirmed that it was, and a few said that they weren’t even all that surprised to see it.
“I went there for Middle school…so sorry this happened,” another wrote. “I’m just as angry as you are because I was mistreated by staff there for being autistic…it traumatized me and they used forced restraint, INCLUDING THE PRINCIPALS BEFORE THE CURRENT ONES.”
“Please let us know how the general public can help beyond the scope of Twitter,” another wrote. “This is UNACCEPTABLE! Just a HORROR story.”
“I’m so sad,” another shared. “For those that deny that institutional racism exists…here it is…loud and proud. This assignment happened because it was [allowed] to. The teacher clearly felt emboldened to do so. That’s institutional racism.”
Williamsville Central School District Posts Statement To Facebook Page
The Williamsville Central School District posted a statement to the school’s Facebook page. They included a blurry photo of the statement, with the caption reading “Statement regarding homework assignment posted to social media.”
The statement began: “The District is aware of the homework assignment that was posted on social media. This assignment created by the teacher and provided to students was unacceptable.”
“We are addressing the situation to ensure this does not happen again,” they continued. “The District does not condone any instructional material that denigrates our students, families, culture, or beliefs. Our goal as a District is to create an intentionally welcoming learning environment, celebrating our community and its diversity. This assignment fails to meet our standards and will be dealt with appropriately.”
The district did not reveal whether or not the teacher would be suspended, fired, or what other disciplinary matter might result due to the offensive homework assignment.
Unfortunately, the school made no mention of what the offensive was in its statement, leaving many parents to speculate as to just what occurred.
“What a perfect example of ‘vague-booking’,” one person wrote. “All you’ve done is created more curiosity over what must’ve been an unfortunate situation.”
“Nice measured response,” another person wrote. “Let’s see what actions the district takes.”
“It sounds like this isn’t the first time this assignment has been given,” wrote another. “People need to be held responsible from the teacher to administrators who did nothing about this and allowed it to continue. Hate is Hate.”
“The School administrators ignored numerous prior complaints with silence, until this story went national, & made them the laughing stock of the nation,” another added. “I smell a cover-up in progress & it stinks.”
“This is completely incompetent and unacceptable!” wrote another. “The teacher and all faculty associated with this blatant racist behavior MUST BE FIRED! I do hope that all the parents stand together regardless of race and demand action! Where are your morals people?? Just plain EVIL.”
Another shared, “This assignment is disgusting. Whoever created it should be fired immediately and permanently barred from teaching in NY State.”
This year has seen a lot of outcry about the content in schools.
In all honesty, I see SO many more troubling examples like this than I see examples of DEI materials that might make parents squirm.
— Karen Vaites (@karenvaites) January 11, 2022
“This is completely unacceptable,” wrote another parent. “Let’s think for a second about how that can impact a kid. I’m the mother of a Hispanic kid that goes to a WCSD school, and it upsets me so much just to think that a teacher will give my kid this assignment.”
“If this was a mistake from the teacher, then the teacher must understand that serious mistakes have serious consequences, we can’t just be ok with an apology from the District, this is not something that can be undone or unseen by the kids,” they continued. “Or when you make a serious mistake for what your company can be sued, do you think your boss is going to call you for an apology?”
“Mistakes bring consequences and we need to know what the District is going to do,” they concluded. “We teach our kids not to bully, but what kind of message you think the teacher is sending with this assignment?”