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A Texas teacher's decision to have her middle school students draw pictures of themselves as slaves has left some parents utterly perplexed.
Students at Four Points Middle School in Austin received the homework assignment last week, Dallas News reports. The assignment sheet, titled "Making Sense With the Senses," asked the seventh graders to draw on the class's previous discussions about slave life in Texas in the 1850's to draw pictures of themselves as slaves. The students were also tasked with using their five senses to describe what their surroundings would be like if they were a slave during that time period.
Tonya Jennings, whose 12-year-old daughter was one of the students who received the assignment, told KVUE that she was shocked when she saw it.
"There's nothing about slavery that I would want any child, regardless of color, to have to relive," Jennings said.
She went on to say that she struggled to explain the point of the assignment to her daughter because she didn't quite understand it herself.
"It is completely out of place," Jennings said. "It just doesn't even go with the packet at all. To ask my child to put herself in a situation where she has to draw herself as a slave was an issue just, you know, all the way up the board."
A spokesperson for the Leander Independent School District explained in a statement the district's intent to explain to students the reasons for Texas' involvement in the Civil War, including states' rights, slavery, sectionalism, and tariffs.
"The state also asks students to be able to identify points of view from the historical context surrounding an event and the frame of reference that influenced the participants," the statement continued.
The school district reportedly plans to discontinue use of that particular assignment, with district spokesperson Corey Ryan telling Chron.com, "It's not something the school is going to keep doing."