School Assignment Refers to Kyle Rittenhouse as 'Hero'

Texas district apologizes after alleged Kenosha shooter is referenced in assignment
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2020 12:01 AM CDT
School Assignment Refers to Kyle Rittenhouse as 'Hero'
Kyle Rittenhouse, left, with backwards cap, walks along Sheridan Road in Kenosha, Wis., Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, with another armed civilian.   (Adam Rogan/The Journal Times via AP)

Kyle Rittenhouse, a "hero for the modern age"? The 17-year-old is, of course, charged with killing two people during the Kenosha, Wisconsin, protests over the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man. The teen was listed, alongside Gandhi, Cesar Chavez, and Malcolm X, as a possible such "hero" students at a Texas high school could opt to write about. Also included in the list were George Floyd, another Black man whose death at the hands of Minneapolis police sparked the widespread protests that still engulf the nation, and Joseph Rosenbaum—one of the two men Rittenhouse is alleged to have killed. The Hill points out that no women were included on the list, and CBS DFW notes the names of Gandhi and Malcolm X were spelled wrong. The Dallas Independent School District has since apologized for the assignment, NBC News reports.

"The juxtaposition of George Floyd's name with Kyle's name was just astounding," says the sister of a student who brought the assignment home. "The value of Black lives are not up for debate, and that’s what it felt like this was sort of getting at—by way of the names that were included." The district says the W.T. White High School in Dallas assignment had not been approved, has since been removed from the online portal, and the English teacher involved is being investigated. "Racial equity is a top priority in Dallas ISD, and we remain committed to providing a robust teaching environment where all students can learn," it says in a statement. "It is important that we continue to be culturally sensitive to our diverse populations and provide a space of respect and value." Meanwhile, USA Today reports the National Foundation for Gun Rights has raised $50,000 for Rittenhouse, which it sent him for "defending himself and business owners." (More Kyle Rittenhouse stories.)

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