Nine third-grade math teachers in Gwinnett County, Georgia, have caused an uproar by giving their students assignments using examples involving slavery and the beating of Fredrick Douglass as analogies for solving math problems, according to multiple reports.
Officials at Beaver Ridge Elementary, located in the suburban sprawl Northeast of Atlanta, are still sorting through the situation, but school district spokeswoman Sloan Roach told CBS Atlanta they have no reason to believe that there was any intent to the racially-infused, cross-curricular questions.
"We've been working with human resources to determine what staff development is needed for the teachers and what actions may be warranted," Roach said. "The principal is addressing parent concerns as he's meeting with them."
Teachers were apparently attempting to perform a cross-curricular activity after students read a book about abolitionist Fredrick Douglass.
The first controversial question asked: "Each tree had 56 oranges. If eight slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?" The other asked: "If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in one week?"
State NAACP president Ed DuBose has called for the termination of all Gwinnett teachers and staff involved in the production of the worksheet in question, according to the Atlanta Constitution Journal.
"The group responsible for allowing it to go forward should be fired not just reprimanded, but fired," DuBose said. "I refuse to believe the teacher or teachers responsible for allowing it to go forward did not understand fully what they were doing. We need to understand how deep this is. Who all knew? What did they know?''
While school officials have not indicated what disciplinary steps will be taken going forward, Roach did say the school will be developing new cross-curricular questions for the students.
"Frankly, they were just bad questions," Roach said.