Skip to main content

 A Mehlville School District teacher has been placed on administrative leave after he assigned his students homework, which asked students to put a price on slaves.

"You own a plantation or farm and therefore need more workers. You begin to get involved in the slave trade industry and have slaves work on your farm. Your product to trade is slaves.

Set your price for a slave. _____________ These could be worth a lot.

You may trade for any items you'd like," the homework reads.

Both the school and the teacher have received backlash for the assignment, which one parent called "culturally insensitive." 

"We have to be more culturally sensitive. We can say get over a homework assignment. It's just a homework assignment. That was 100 years ago," Walker said. "It was, but it's still someone else's family. Maybe there are people who don't see the wrong in it, but we need to be talking about it," Angela Walker, the parent of a biracial student, told KMOV.

"The assignment was culturally insensitive," the elementary school's principal Jeremy Booker said. "The teacher has expressed significant remorse." 

The assignment included a reflection section where students were asked about their thoughts on a free market economy and whether they would consider themselves wealthy. 

The Mehlville superintendent released a statement addressing the incident.

"Racism of any kind, even inadvertently stemming from cultural bias, is wrong and is not who we aspire to be as a school district. I am sorry and disappointed that this happened in our school. There is no quick fix for cultural bias. We will be devoting significant time and resources to train our staff on issues related to cultural competency, implicit bias, and equity," Superintendent Chris Gaines said.