PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pittsburgh Public Schools is investigating an “inappropriate homework assignment” given to first graders.
According to a statement released by the Pittsburgh Public Schools district on Facebook, first grade students at Pittsburgh Linden K-5 were given homework that has been causing controversy on social media.
The district says it supports the autonomy of their teachers in deciding what materials to use in class, yet there is a responsibility to make sure the materials are “culturally responsive, validating and affirming their cultural and ethnic identities.”
However, the homework was not part of a Pittsburgh Public Schools curriculum or intervention programs.
They declined to provide any details about the content of the assignment, saying it is a “personnel matter.”
WATCH: KDKA’s Meghan Schiller reports live
Pittsburgh Public Schools Public Information Officer Ebony Pugh confirmed that this worksheet is the one in question:
The worksheet says:
“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 in the pond. ‘Get them!’ yells the cop to his dog. The dog gets Tom and Rob. Rob’s socks is wet from the pond.”
She said the school is reaching out to parents to begin the “discussion” and address concerns the worksheet has raised.
There is no comment on whether the teacher responsible is still with Pittsburgh Public Schools.
“You always read everything before you five it out,” said one woman whose grandkids attend the school. “You definitely read it before you give it to children.”
Meghan Schiller reached out to Pittsburgh Police, and Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said:
“I found the ‘assignement’ to be so utterly irresponsible and depressing, I’m at a loss for words. We’re working with our communities to build bridges to help keep our citizens, especially our young citizens, safe. Demonizing the police in the classroom flies in the face of those efforts.”
Superintendent Anthony Hamlet issued a statement about the homework assignment, which reads in full:
“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.”