Parents fear backlash over daughter's Black History Month assignment: 'You don't dress up as another race'

The parents of a Georgia second-grader are worried that an assignment for Black History Month may take an offensive turn after students were encouraged to dress up as historical figures. (Photo: Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)

Parents of a second-grade student in Georgia are concerned that their daughter’s recent homework assignment may be taken out of context.

Diane and Peter Richey have a daughter who attends Clarkdale Elementary School in Austell, Ga. When she came home with her assignment, which was meant to celebrate Black History Month, before winter break, her parents were caught off guard. The homework assignment asked students to research and present an African-American historical figure, and students were encouraged to wear costumes depicting the icon.

“You don’t dress up as another race. That seems to be something we’ve universally agreed on lately,” Peter told Atlanta news station WSB-TV.

“Coming dressed as African-American. I was a little shocked that that’s what they were asking,” Diane added.

While the Richeys are supportive about the rest of the assignment, especially regarding the highlighting of African-Americans in our country’s history, they’re concerned that a white student dressing up in character may be taking it too far.

“Some people could go too far with it, and it could cause problems for either the school or the parents,” Diane told the outlet. Peter believes that such a “tone-deaf” assignment could “deeply offend” others.

Clarkdale Elementary School did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment. A Cobb County School District spokesperson told WSB-TV, “Schools across the district are encouraging learning through a variety of engaging activities that will help students better understand the tremendous impact African-Americans have had throughout history.”

The Richeys said the district told them their daughter could sit in a different room during the presentations if she felt uncomfortable, the news outlet reported, which did not sit well with the parents.

Yahoo Lifestyle was not able to locate the Richeys for comment.

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