Pittsford superintendent apologizes for 'highly insensitive' 4th-grade worksheet on slavery

The image is a photograph of the worksheet Photo: Pittsford Central School District. The image is a photograph of the worksheet

Updated: April 20, 2021 02:59 PM
Created: April 20, 2021 12:16 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The superintendent of the Pittsford Central School District is apologizing for a worksheet in students' notebooks that inaccurately depicted slavery during Colonial Times. 

Superintendent Michael Pero said it was brought to his attention Tuesday that the worksheet was used in a fourth-grade class lesson on slavery during Colonial Times in January. 

"The worksheet was in no way an accurate depiction of slavery during Colonial Times and was highly insensitive in tone," Pero said in a statement Tuesday. "We immediately met with the staff members involved in this lesson and have taken steps to remedy the situation. This will include a re-teaching of the topic of slavery during Colonial Times and removing this worksheet from student notebooks while providing them with correct, factual information on this subject."

District officials tell News10NBC the worksheet came from an online resource called Classroom Nook, and it was part of one lesson used by a first-year teacher in one class at one school. Classroom Nook is not a district-approved resource for materials, district officials added.

Pero said the school has reached out to apologize to the parent who brought the worksheet to their attention as well as parents to students in the entire class.

"This situation reinforces the significance and importance of working with our staff with regard to high-quality resources, ongoing professional development and culturally responsive-sustaining educational practices," Pero said.

News10NBC reached out to Classroom Nook about the worksheet. They sent us the following response:

"The pictured worksheet does not accurately reflect any material available from The Classroom Nook.  The picture shows a modified worksheet with fill-in-the-blank sections that are not part of the original resource. Additionally, the worksheet shown contains very old portions of a unit on colonial America. In working to improve the resource over the years, The Classroom Nook has replaced words like 'jobs' with 'tasks' and 'come to America' with 'brought to America' in an effort to more accurately represent this period in American history."

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