A teacher at a Michigan private school has been placed on leave after showing students pictures of animals with a picture of former President Barack Obama. They asked the class to “identify the primate,” per USA TODAY’s report.
Reports say the teacher (who has not been named) worked at the Birmingham campus of the Roeper School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. The campus holds the school’s middle school and high school. Per USA TODAY, the assignment showed students images of different animals including monkeys and then a random picture of Obama.
“Which of the following are primates,” read the assignment. It was given to 30 biology students.
Read the school’s response from USA TODAY:
The school in a statement to USA TODAY said, “On behalf of Roeper School’s leadership, we want to acknowledge the disturbing racial offense contained in an assignment with an upper school class last week.”
“The choice to use this piece of curriculum was completely inconsistent with our School’s philosophy and mission and we sincerely apologize for its use and the harm it has caused. While the teacher has taken responsibility and admits the mistake of not properly vetting the resource, we know that is not enough and she has been placed on administrative leave until further notice,” the statement continued.
A concerned parent sent a letter to the school the day after the assignment was given out. Carolyn Lett, Roeper’s director of diversity, said this behavior wasn’t acceptable, per The Detroit News.
“The following morning, we were alerted that this went out, we discussed it ourselves and immediately spoke with the teacher. This is not anything we’ve seen before and nothing we’re used to,” said Lett, who’s worked at the school for 29 years.
Per The Detroit News, the school will be reviewing curriculum and working on professional development for staff and faculty focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion. Hopefully, this entails training more rigorous than a powerpoint presentation.