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Parents, Students Outraged After Dallas ISD School Assignment Lists Kyle Rittenhouse Among Gandhi, Other 'Heroes'

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - A controversial W. T. White High School English assignment is drawing people's ire for asking students to write about a modern-day hero, and including accused Kenosha killer, Kyle Rittenhouse among the options.

The 17-year-old was accused of shooting two people to death and wounding another amid protests, which erupted in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

Labeled "Hero for the Modern Age," part one of the assignment asked students to write a half-page biography of each of the following people. Then it lists: Mahatma Gandhi, César Chávez, Malcolm X, George Floyd, Kyle Rittenhouse and Joseph D. Rosenbaum (one of the two protesters Rittenhouse is accused of killing).

The teacher misspelled both Gandhi and Malcolm X.

WT White controversy
(graphic credit: CBS11/KTVT Art Dept.)

Thanks to social media, the story -- and the controversy-- has of course now gone far beyond North Texas.

CBS 11 News spoke to a relative of one of the students who complained. Concerned about retaliation, she only wanted her first name -- "Kristian" used. She said there is just so much wrong with the assignment and believes that the teacher cannot be trusted in a position of authority over students.

"From the spelling, to the grammar, no women on the list... and then a white supremacist murderer," she said, questioning the teacher's character.

For personnel reasons, Dallas ISD can't name the teacher involved. However, they did send the following statement:

"An unapproved assignment posted in Google Classroom yesterday has been brought to our attention. Understandably, this caused some concern for the impacted students, and we apologize. Campus administration immediately removed the unapproved content and students are not required to complete that assignment. Due to personnel policies, we are not able to comment further, however, the appropriate steps are being followed pending investigation.

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 is important that we continue to be culturally sensitive to our diverse populations and provide a space of respect and value."

CBS 11 News reached out to the teacher whose name was on the assignment, asking for a first-person explanation, but have yet to receive a response.

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