Community discusses Appleton North slavery essay considered offensive

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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - An assignment about slavery given to students at Appleton North High School was considered offensive by students, parents, and the district.

In response, First Family Ministries hosted a community discussion Monday about the issue.

Appleton North's Divine Dupree questions this mid-December history essay prompt.

It asks about the expectations of slaves -- from the "relationship with your master" to the possible benefits.

Dupree shared the essay with her father, Alvin, a school board member.

"It's teaching hate. It's making people feel more or less like a second citizen," said Alvin Dupree.

He along with other parents were outraged.

He took their complaints to Superintendent Judy Baseman.

Action 2 News asked the Appleton Area School District for comment Monday but it referred us to this statement it released Friday.

It calls the essay offensive and says the district is reviewing its current practices, saying, "Clearly our work is not done. We are dedicated to continuing to improve our cultural sensitivity."

Action 2 News obtained the letter sent home by the teacher who assigned the essay.

He said he is committed to making appropriate lessons on slavery by
"Participating in ongoing professional development opportunities that will build my cultural competence."

Dupree hopes the community can grow from this.

"Especially in light of today is Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday,” said Dupree. “I think it's something as a community need to use unite us not divide us."

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