24/11/2009 03:30 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Parents Object To "Racist" Homework

Parents in America have objected to an image of a toothless black man which was included on a mathematics homework sheet. Some are calling it racist, and one mother even kept her son home from school in protest.

Click here to see the photo and judge for yourself if it was worth making a fuss about

The mother, who chose to stay anonymous, told her local newspaper in Philadelpia: "I couldn't understand what I was looking at," The work sheet, titled "Solving Equations using Multiplication and Division!," featured a photo of a black man in a straw hat and a shirt and suspenders, his mostly toothless mouth open wide. Underneath the picture is phrase, "NO WAI!!!"

Teacher Matthew Curran had this response: "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."

The student's mother particularly objected because her son is the only African-American student in the maths class, and he says he was teased by other students. She told the Bucks County Courier Times: "One of the kids in the classroom turned around and said, 'Is that your father? We are highly insulted and offended. 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?"
The boy's family released a written statement about the incident which said:

"It brings into question whether all of our children are being provided a safe and fair environment in which to learn. What happened here is unacceptable, and we will take steps to make sure it never happens again,"

The school's head teacher declined to comment but did say that administrators are investigating the matter. In the meantime, the boy's mother is keeping her child home until the situation is resolved.

She commented: "Racism is usually so subtle. To have it so blatant is what is so shocking. Hopefully, we can all learn from this and move forward in a positive way -- for everyone, not just the black kids or the Hispanic kids or the Jewish kids or the other subgroups ... We need some peace and understanding. I don't want hate."

What do you think? Was this image appropriate for homework? Leave a comment below

[ParentDish US]