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Lawrence Township parents unhappy with school's Black History Month assignment

In response, the school district said the assignment wasn't in keeping with their commitment to quality instruction.

INDIANAPOLIS — Parents in Lawrence Township are sharing their frustration with the school district after they say a classroom project went too far. 

Cindy and Ramond Clark are still in shock about the phone call they received from their daughter last week about a Black History Month assignment at Fall Creek Valley Middle School. 

"It disturbed her to a point where she was like, 'I got to call mom and dad,'" Ramond said.

According to the school district, students were told they could draw a picture showing different ways of life in northern and southern states back in the 1800s. But the Clarks said their daughter's teacher took it a step further, telling students to only draw a Black person picking cotton and a white person working with machinery.

"Our children said that she specifically said Black people picking cotton," Ramond said. 

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Feeling offended by the assignment, their daughter was among several students who refused to complete the project. She sent her parents pictures of drawings made by other students in class. 

"It drew tears from another student," Ramond said.

"I'm glad they stood up for what they believed in," Cindy added.

Both Cindy and Ramond, who own several successful local businesses, said they can't understand why the lesson wasn't more well-rounded. 

"Picking cotton is forced labor. It's not a part of our heritage. There are so many other things that could have been discussed, like inventors and business owners," Ramond said.

To respond to concerns from parents, Lawrence Township sent this statement to 13News:

The MSD of Lawrence Township is committed to providing high quality instruction to all students. The assignment in question does not reflect that commitment and demonstrates poor judgement. School and district officials are involved and have communicated with both the teacher and the family who came forward with concerns.

The Clark family said they would like to see curriculum changes. 

"Racism has gone on far too long. We know it's not going anywhere, but it doesn't belong in Lawrence Township schools or any district," Ramond said.

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