Story at a glance

  • A fourth-grade teacher at Jefferson Road Elementary in Pittsford, N.Y., used a worksheet that asked “Why did slaves come to America?”
  • A fill-in-the-blank answer was provided that read “As an exchange for the trip to America, African Americans agreed to work for colonists for _____ years, but then were kept as slaves.”
  • While the incident occurred in January, a parent brought the worksheet to the attention of district officials Tuesday.

An elementary school in upstate New York has apologized after a worksheet used during a lesson on slavery said slaves agreed to work for colonists in exchange for a trip to America. 

WROC reports a fourth-grade teacher at Jefferson Road Elementary in Pittsford, N.Y., used a worksheet that asked several questions about slavery, one of which was “Why did slaves come to America?”


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A fill-in-the-blank answer was provided that read “As an exchange for the trip to America, African Americans agreed to work for colonists for  _____ years, but then were kept as slaves.” 

School officials said the worksheet was part of one lesson used by a first year teacher and was only used in one class. The worksheet came from an online resource called “Classroom Nook” that is not approved by the school district to be used as part of lessons. 

While the incident occurred in January, a parent brought the worksheet to the attention of district officials Tuesday. 

“It was brought to our attention this morning that in January, a worksheet was used in a fourth grade class lesson on slavery during Colonial Times. The worksheet was in no way an accurate depiction of slavery during Colonial Times and was highly insensitive in tone,” Pittsford Central School District Superintendent of Schools Michael Pero said in a statement, according to WROC. 

Pero said the worksheet will be removed from student notebooks and there will be a re-teaching of the topic.

“I would like to thank the parent who brought this to our attention. We have reached out to them in order to make a full apology for the use of this worksheet. We have also reached out to parents of the entire class to share this error and apologize for it,” Pero said.


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Published on Apr 22, 2021