Here's a frightening report from Atlanta's local NBC affiliate WXIA. Kelly Avalos, interviewed in the video that's above, was alarmed that her brother and his entire 3rd grade class at Chesney was sent home with a homework assignment about "illegal aliens," that includes the following awful question:
What does the U.S. do with illegal aliens?
A. The U.S. puts them to work in the army.
B. The U.S. shoots them into outer space.
C. The U.S. puts them to death.
D. The U.S. sends them back where they came from.
"Reading the question and reading the final answers to question number 6 was very disturbing," Avalos said. Disturbing indeed. The fact that these two words are repeated in official documents and all over the media makes it seem equally plausible that these so-called "solutions" could actually take place. To an eight-year-old, that has to be a terrifying prospect.
The station followed up with the Gwinnet School District, now looking into whether a committee approved the assignment or the teacher decided on her own that it was appropriate material. The reading comprehension sheet is not the school's own curriculum, but was downloaded from EdHelper, a site used by the school's teachers. "Depending on what we find out there could be disciplinary action as well as additional staff development for our teacher," said school district spokesperson Jorge Quintana.
It's outrageous that this website for educators provides such insidious anti-immigrant messages. As harmful as it is for children to indirectly imbibe hate speech through TV, media, etc., it is much more atrocious and harmful when that hate speech is being provided to them under the guise of education from a source they trust and possibly look up to.
The i-word opens the door to all kinds of messy interpretations, regardless of the form it takes. It teaches kids either that it's ok to evoke violence against other human beings (whether in the form of a joke or a lesson plan) or to feel worthless if they are on the receiving end. While parents can prevent children from being exposed to racial slurs and hate-filled messages at home, it is also up to educators to ensure a safe learning environment. This is harmful to society as a whole, but especially to children who could be the target of i-word hate speech
The EdHelper website still has the racist worksheet available on their site. You can send them your request to take down the racist material here.
Drop the I-Word thanks Miriam Perez for sending this in today. When you catch similar horrors in your local news, send them into us and we'll share with the Colorlines and Drop the I-Word community.
* This article has been revised since publicatio