A Long Island teacher is under investigation for assigning students to write "funny" captions for images of slaves in cotton fields. The 8th graders at John W. Dodd Middle School in Freeport, New York, were given the black and white photos and told to "write something funny" as a title and caption, according to the grandmother of a girl whose friend is in the social studies class in question. The white teacher allegedly told students to "make it real funny because she didn’t want to be bored," wrote Darlene McCurty on Facebook alongside photos showing worksheets with handwritten titles like "#blackgirlmagic" and captions including "black girls work hard play hard." The post was shared more than 1,700 times, and now the superintendent has responded, NBC News reports.
"I have been informed that during a recent eighth grade Reconstruction Era social studies lesson at J.W. Dodd Middle School, a faculty member is reported to have used directions to describe an assignment that were very upsetting to some students and families," Dr. Kishore Kuncham, superintendent of Freeport Public Schools, said in a statement. "The emotional and social wellness of our students is always our highest priority and we take any insensitive comments made by staff very seriously." He has directed an investigation to be opened. Many are calling for the teacher to be fired, Fox 5 NY reports. The school district declined to comment Monday on whether the teacher in question was currently working. (Stories like this are disturbingly common.)