A secondary school has been branded racist after it asked pupils to list the pros and cons of slavery as homework.
Parents have said the exercise given to Year 11 GCSE pupils at the Hazeley Academy in Milton Keynes was inappropriate and offensive.
The homework derived from the AQA teachers guide on Britain: migration, empires and people topic.
As part of the topic, pupils are asked to examine the reasons why the British Empire pursued the transatlantic slave trade instead of piracy, the Huffington Post reports.
The teacher asked students to list the pros and cons of slavery, but Sabrina Aries, the mother of a student who complained that the exercise was inappropriate, raised the issue with the headteacher on September 10.
But Sabrina says that although she received an apology, the students – all aged 15 or 16 – have yet to be told how or why the homework was problematic.
She said: I dont feel that, individually, any of those teachers meant to cause offence. But I also think that, as a majority white staff, they do not consider history from any other perspective.
To me, if they re-educate the children appropriately then I dont have an issue with the fact that there was a mistake made. The fact that the mistake has not been rectified is an issue to me. This is an ongoing problem that I have with this school.
In a statement, the Hazeley Academy principal, Tony Nelson, said: In no way are we trying to encourage, celebrate or praise slavery and therefore we have amended the language in this homework.
Instead of pros and cons mentioned, we have adjusted this to Reasons why Britain chose to develop plantations and “Why slavery shouldnt exist”.
The member of staff did apologise for the wording and explained the context of this to the parent who raised the concern along with their daughter.
We did check with both mother and daughter that their concerns had been adequately resolved and that if they had not then they should simply contact the academy.