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Parents upset after vocabulary lesson focuses on police brutality

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Superintendent says teacher was challenging students to use critical thinking skills while discussing current events.

HAMILTON, Ohio – A middle school homework assignment caused anger among parents and resulted in a few calls to the school district.

The assignment, which was titled “Vocabulary- Police Brutality,” was given to students at Wilson Middle School in Ohio.

According to WLWT, students were instructed to fill in the blanks with words like brutality, merely, prosecuted, excessive and minority.

“The numbers don’t lie; minority people (more so black than Hispanic) experience more violent arrests from police officers than do white people. The unfortunate thing is that most police officers aren’t prosecuted in cases of brutality against them,” the assignment reads. “These cases rarely make it to court and the officers are acquitted of any crime.”

Hamilton City Schools Superintendent Tony Orr said the teacher was simply challenging students to use critical thinking skills while discussing current events.

However, some parents say that was not a good enough explanation.

“She did NOT offer an assignment that allowed the student to think critically. Offering a word bank to fill in the blanks is NOT critical thinking. This assignment was not created to allow the students to apply or analyze information or use it to create something new. It was used to give information to students no matter how slanted the information,” one parent wrote.

“So now they’re teaching to kids to be afraid of law enforcement in school? This would irritate me if my child brought this home,” another parent wrote.

However, other parents said they support the assignment.

“It opened discussion here tonight. Both of my boys attend Wilson and we had open, real life discussions tonight. I’m also an educator and the teacher did create critical thinking and dialogue,” one parent wrote.

Orr did not say whether the teacher was disciplined, simply saying the teacher is still employed with the district.