Lesson about white privilege and racism gets shut down in Somers classroom

News 12 was told some students messaged their parents about the lesson and then parents contacted the Somers School District Superintendent Dr. Raymond H. Blanch.

News 12 Staff

Nov 3, 2022, 10:48 AM

Updated 569 days ago

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The Somers school superintendent shut down a lesson on racism in a 10th-grade English class after getting complaints from parents.
A teacher at Somers High School was teaching using the book, "Me and White Supremacy," by Layla Saad. It's a workbook that encourages people who have white privilege to journal about their views on racism.
News 12 was told some students messaged their parents about the lesson and then parents contacted the Somers School District Superintendent Dr. Raymond H. Blanch. Dr. Blanch says he agrees the lesson was inappropriate and not in line with the district's instructional policies.
Reaction from parents has been mixed with some parents saying the lesson was inappropriate, while others say it's perfectly fine to challenge students on uncomfortable topics. 
"To say you're not going to broach a subject with 10th graders because it's going to make some kids uncomfortable, I think we need to think about how other 10th graders going to school in a community like Somers may feel uncomfortable every day because they are in such a minority," says Karen Sullivan, parent. 

But other parents say they simply object to this specific book being used as a teaching tool rather than educating students about racism. "There's a way of doing it and it's not by putting a child down. It's not making a child feel guilty or upset about the color of their skin, it's a poor choice of literature that was used," says Kristen Fiumara, parent.
A district spokesperson tells News12 that administrators are re-evaluating the teacher and investigating the whole incident.


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