Wylie, TX – An eight-grade social studies assignment depicted police as slave owners and members of the KKK in a series of cartoons.
The assignment was given to students at Cooper Junior High in Wylie, according to KXAN.
The assignment had a series of of five cartoon images over centuries of time in which a black man is on his stomach with his hands restrained.
In each cartoon, the black man is in the process of saying, “I can’t breathe” while a white person has a knee on their neck.
The first cartoon has a Christopher Columbus-era explorer with a knee on the black man’s neck and the second cartoon has what appears to be a plantation owner.
The third cartoon has a KKK member.
The last two cartoons are of police officers.
The first police officer appears to be a Jim Crow-era law enforcement officer with a “WHITE ONLY” sign behind him.
The last cartoon appears to depict George Floyd and former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
CNN reported that the instructions stated the assignment would have a discussion about the First Amendment, freedom of religion, freedom of the press and the right to peaceably protest.
Joe Gamaldi, the vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police, sent a letter Aug. 19 to Wylie Independent School District. He also posted an image of the cartoon on Twitter.
8th grade teachers in a school outside of Dallas, TX (@WylieISD) gave students a home work assignment comparing police officers to slave owners and the KKK.
This is abhorrent and disgusting, and only further widens the gap between police officers and the youth in our community. pic.twitter.com/ELfbjWQu9Z
— Joe Gamaldi (@JoeGamaldi) August 20, 2020
“I cannot begin to tell you how abhorrent and disturbing this comparison is, but what is more disturbing is that no adult within your school thought better before sending this assignment to children,” Gamaldi wrote in the letter, according to KXAN.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the teacher should be fired in a tweet.
“A teacher in a Texas public school comparing police officers to the KKK is beyond unacceptable,” Abbott wrote on Twitter. “It’s the opposite of what must be taught. The teacher should be fired. I’m asking the Texas Education Agency to investigate and take action.”
Wylie ISD issued a statement after pulling the assignment, saying: “We are sorry for any hurt that may have been caused through this lesson. The assignment has been removed, and students will not be expected to complete it.”
The Wylie Independent School District would not identify the teacher and said that was due to privacy laws, according to KXAN. The school district said the assignment was not part of the district’s curriculum resources.
KXAN reported that the school district released a statement that said, “We are sorry for any hurt that may have been caused through this lesson. The assignment has been removed, and students will not be expected to complete it.”