Charles County

Maryland School Assignment on Black People Killed by Police Was ‘Inappropriate,' District Says

Charles County Public Schools said "a topic such as the one raised in this assignment is inappropriate as a stand-alone written assignment"

Charles County assignment

A school district in Maryland says it was “inappropriate” for a high school teacher to assign students to list the names of Black people killed by police without placing the assignment into context.

An English teacher at Henry E. Lackey High School in Indian Head, Maryland, gave the assignment on Wednesday via an online learning platform. 

“I want you to do something … an assignment I am calling ‘Say Their Names,'" it said. “Write a list of [B]lack people killed by police since Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. You need to write their name, the date of their death, and the place. For extra credit, write a sentence or two about the circumstance of their deaths.” 

Charles County Public Schools said in a statement that the assignment should have been placed into a broader context. 

“A topic such as the one raised in this assignment is inappropriate as a stand-alone written assignment. The teacher presented the assignment without background, lesson plans or in-class discussion guided by a teacher,” the district said Wednesday afternoon. 

“Social justice topics are a meaningful way to engage students in the curriculum. Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) uses the curriculum to guide the discussion of social justice topics,” the statement continued. 

The district said the assignment was "causing some concern in our community." They did not release the teacher’s name.

Participants in Black Lives Matter demonstrations have used the prompt “Say their names” for years, asking people to list victims of killings by police.

Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story. 

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