Middle school teacher allegedly told students to 'write something funny' under photos of enslaved people

A teacher at a Long Island middle school is under investigation for asking students to write "funny" captions under photos of enslaved people. (Photo: Facebook)

A Long Island middle school teacher is currently under investigation after allegedly assigning students to come up with captions under pictures of slavery and to "write something funny."

According to a woman whose granddaughter attends John W. Dodd Middle School in Freeport, N.Y., students were instructed to write the captions underneath black-and-white photos of enslaved people in cotton fields and to make them “funny,” as the teacher allegedly didn't want to be bored.

Darlene McCurty's granddaughter, who was not part of the class but had friends who were in the classroom, shared photos with her grandmother that had handwritten captions such as, "Black girls work hard play hard"; "Us black people need to get out"; and "Getting that money." According to McCurty, the eighth-grade teacher is “white.”

In the Sept. 20 Facebook post, McCurty shared that her granddaughter's friend refused to write anything funny and that they were disturbed by the assignment.

The district shared the following statement from Freeport Public Schools' Superintendent, Kishore Kuncham: "I have been informed that during a recent eighth grade Reconstruction Era social studies lesson at J.W. Dodd Middle School, a faculty member is reported to have used directions to describe an assignment that were very upsetting to some students and families.”

The statement continued: "The emotional and social wellness of our students is always our highest priority and we take any insensitive comments made by staff very seriously. I have directed that an investigation of these claims be immediately conducted. Since this matter involves a District employee and is a personnel matter, there will be no further comment until a thorough investigation and careful consideration of the facts of this matter are completed."

A spokesperson for the Freeport Public Schools tells Yahoo Lifestyle on Tuesday that the teacher involved has been administratively reassigned outside of the classroom until the investigation is completed and declined to comment further.

This story was originally published on Sept. 23, 2019, at 8:57 p.m. ET.

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