But when he chose an image of a toothless black man in a straw hat and suspenders over top of the misspelled words, “NO WA!!!!”, one parent cried racism.
The Central Bucks mother was shocked to see the racist image on her son’s math assignment, but when she heard the boy — who is the only black student in his Lenape Middle School pre-algebra class — was teased about it, too, she got angry.
“We are highly insulted and offended,” she told the Bucks County Courier Times. “We sent him to school to learn pre-algebra. He should be protected from this stuff, not have it thrown in his face…He gets enough (racial slurs) and negativity from the kids. To have the teacher encourage it?”
When the worksheet was handed out, several students reacted negatively to the picture. But math teacher Matthew Curran told them to do it anyway. One student turned around and asked the boy in question, “Is that your father?” When his mother asked him why he didn’t just get up and leave the class, he told her, “Mommy, I’m in school.”
Math teacher Matthew Curran has since attempted to explain his use of the image and apologize. In an email to the Courier Times, he wrote:
“I chose it because it said ‘no way,’ which is a comment my students make when I require them to show each calculation. I had no idea that I might offend anyone. I am very sorry for any distress that this has caused my students and the community.”
An apology is great, but really, what was he thinking? Time to get a new sensitivity meter, sir, because I think yours is broken.