The Dallas Independent School district apologized for an assignment that asked high school students to write an essay about a modern “hero” and suggested Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17 year old charged with killing two people during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Rittenhouse was suggested as “hero for the modern age” along with the possible subjects of Gandhi, Cesar Chavez, Malcolm X, George Floyd and Joseph Rosenbaum — one of the Rittenhouse’s alleged victims.
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Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Illinois, was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in connection with the Aug. 25 shooting deaths of Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber during protests over the shooting by police of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha.
Kristian Hernandez said that her younger brother, a student at Warren Travis White High School in Dallas, shared details of the assignment with his family.
“My brother was really in disbelief that this was actually an assignment,” Hernandez told NBC affiliate KXAS.
“The juxtaposition of George Floyd’s name with Kyle’s name was just astounding,” she said. “The value of Black lives are not up for debate and that’s what it felt like this was sort of getting at — by way of the names that were included.”
The Dallas Independent School District apologized for the “unapproved assignment” and removed it from its online portal, according to NBC affiliate KXAS. Students do not have to complete the assignment.
In a statement provided to KXAS, the school district said the post is under investigation and that it would not provide further comment.
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“Racial equity is a top priority in Dallas ISD, and we remain committed to providing a robust teaching environment where all students can learn. It is important that we continue to be culturally sensitive to our diverse populations and provide a space of respect and value,” the Texas school district said in a statement.
Tim Fitzsimons reports on LGBTQ news for NBC Out.
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