A Black Milwaukee, Wisconsin, middle school teacher was suspended Monday, Dec. 19, after she asked students to defend the Ku Klux Klan in a hypothetical courtroom for a “To Kill a Mockingbird” assignment.
The outrage began when parents received a letter from the Business and Economics Academy of Milwaukee teacher describing the assignment’s objectives and instructions. In the letter, students were instructed to watch the 1962 adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird” and write a persuasive paper defending the Klan members on trial.
“The goal of this paper is not to teach the students the Klan was correct in their behavior but rather to teach the students to write persuasively,” the letter read.
However, parent Damaris Dorsey could not believe what the teacher was asking her 7th-grader to do. “My eyes got big and immediately got like, got angry,” Dorsey tells TMJ4. “How do you have a 7th-grade student take the side of someone who has hated our culture and our background and our ethnicity for so many years?”
So, the concerned parent reached out to the school, which suspended the teacher but insisted that she did not intend to offend anyone. The school is investigating the incident while the teacher is on leave, TMJ4 reported.
In wake of the controversy, the middle school also released the following statement: “BEAM feels that the objective of teaching students how to write persuasively is important. However, we feel that the choice of topic is inappropriate for a 7th-grade class. A new topic will be selected for the assignment.”