PHOTO: Williamson County Schools Superintendent Mike Looney / Photo by John McBryde
By JOHN McBRYDE
After the Board of Education’s policy meeting on Monday night, Superintendent Mike Looney said he has been receiving all kinds of feedback regarding the incident at Sunset Middle School where an inappropriate Social Studies assignment was given to students.
The issue came to light on Thursday when the brother of a Sunset Middle eighth-grader in the class tweeted a photo of his sister’s assignment. Among others, one of the exercises asked students to imagine that their family owned slaves and to develop a list of expectations for them. The tweet quickly went viral.
“I’ve heard from lots of citizens, both local and across the country,” Looney said. “I think most people share my perspective that it was not an appropriate assignment. Some people were a lot more vocal in their position on that stance. I will say, we want to make sure our schools reflect the values of the community and that homework assignment did not reflect the values of the community.”
Letters were sent by email to parents from Looney, Sunset Middle Principal Tim Brown and the two teachers who made the assignment, Susan Hooper and Kim Best.
“I was at Sunset Middle School today,” Looney said Monday night. “The teachers are all focused on their work. The two teaches that gave the assignment were remorseful, and it was a good learning experience for all of us. From the school district, we’re going to continue to try to make sure our students are valued and welcomed… I don’t believe the teachers meant any harm at all. I think it was a lack of foresight.”
Looney declined to comment about possible disciplinary action.