School district looks into ‘inappropriate' homework assignment

Officials with the Pittsburgh Public School district are investigating what they are calling an "inappropriate" homework assignment.

The worksheet according to parents who spoke with WPXI said, "Tom will run. He will run from the cop. Tom will run with Rob. They will not stop. Look at the cop. The cop has a big mop. What will he do with the mop? Tom falls on a log. Rob falls into the pond. Get them! Yells the cop to his dog. The dog gets Tom and Rob."

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The worksheet was given to first-grade students at the Linden PreK-5 school, district officials said in a post on the district's Facebook page.

District officials stressed the assignment was not part of the district's curriculum.

"I was dismayed to learn of the inappropriate homework assignment that was distributed to first grade students," Superintendent Anthony Hamlet said. "The district is investigating the source of the materials."

Since this is a personnel matter, district officials said no further information will be released.

PPS Superintendent Anthony Hamlet released the following statement regarding the homework assignment:

"I was dismayed to learn of the inappropriate homework assignment that was distributed to first-grade students at Pittsburgh Linden PreK-5.  The homework assignment, which has been circulated throughout social media, has justifiably caused outrage among families, staff and community. First, let me be clear; the worksheet is not a part of any District curriculum or intervention program. Not only does the content send the wrong message to our students, but it also does not meet our expectations for student instruction."

"We continue to support teacher autonomy to supplement classroom materials to meet the needs of their students. We know that this incident is not a reflection of our very skilled and talented teacher workforce."

"We are committed to ensuring that all materials placed in front of our students are culturally responsive, validating and affirming their cultural and ethnic identities. We also recognize it is our responsibility to alert educators of their blind spots related to implicit bias, colorblindness, and micro-aggressions. 
The District is investigating the source of the materials. As this is a personnel matter, no further information is available."

Parents who are upset over the assignment spoke out on social media. One said according to WPXI, "It's so wrong on so many levels. Why are we running from a cop? Are they protecting and serving our children or no?" Another commenter said, "This should be addressed at a school board meeting."

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