Our VoiceImmigration

Third Grade Homework Assignment Contains Violent Language about Immigrants

Guest Blogger • Apr 05, 2011

By Kathleen McCann

Controversy erupted in a Georgia school after students were given an offensive worksheet on immigration.

The reading exercise was titled, “What is an Illegal Alien?” and was given to third grade students at Chesney Elementary School in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.  The question that sparked an uproar asks: “What does the U.S. do with illegal aliens?” and offers the following choices for an answer: “The U.S. puts them to death; the U.S. sends them back to where they came from; the U.S. puts them in the army; the U.S. shoots them into outer space.”

The reading exercise was created by EDhelper.com, a website that  sells worksheets and other educational materials to teachers.  The company says that the materials on Edhelper are created by teachers for teachers.

CNN reported that the teacher who assigned the worksheet faces disciplinary action from the school and that the company that created the worksheet had removed it from its website, calling it “inappropriate.”

But we wondered if there were other worksheets like this one, and also if the company had made any effort to contact other subscribers who may be utilizing the worksheet. Imagine 2050 contacted Edhelper to find out and didn’t receive a response.

It is not enough that the offensive worksheet was removed from its website. EdHelper should be responding on a deeper level by finding out who specifically created the material and how many other educators had downloaded it.

The worksheet was initially spotted by Kelly Avalos when her 9-year-old brother asked for help on the assignment.  “The homework assignment was not appropriate,” she said.  “The questions and story were disturbing, and I felt offended by the questions asked.  My brother is in third grade, and I don’t feel he needs to be reading things such as putting another human to death because of their legal status … the idea of it upsets me.”

It is irresponsible to let language suggesting violence against immigrants seep into educational materials, especially at a time when political discourse surrounding immigration can be so toxic.

Avalos hopes parents will be more watchful of what kinds of materials children are being assigned as homework, “This could actually mold their minds,” she said.

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