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Teachers disciplined for slavery-related math problems

By// Mariah Craddick

Two elementary school teachers in New York City are currently facing disciplinary action after assigning their students homework worksheets involving slavery-themed word problems, according to TODAY.com

Student teacher, Aziza Harding, brought the issue to light when she discovered the disturbing questions on the math homework worksheet for her fourth-grade class at Manhattan’s P.S. 59. One question read: “One slave got whipped five times a day. How many times did he get whipped in a month (31 days)? Another slave got whipped nine times a day. How many times did he get whipped in a month? How many times did the two slaves get whipped together in one month?”

Harding refused to photocopy the worksheet when asked to and brought it to the administrators instead. Apparently, the assignment had been created a month earlier by social studies teacher Jane Youn who was attempting to teach her students about the history of slavery and incorporated the topic into a math lesson. Students were then asked to make up their own word problems based on their slavery lesson. Teacher Jacqueline Vitucci used the same worksheet created from that class.

“This is obviously unacceptable and we will take appropriate disciplinary action against these teachers,” the New York City Department of Education told TODAY.com. “The Chancellor spoke to the principal, and she has already taken steps to ensure this does not happen again.”