RAYTOWN, Mo. — The Raytown School District is investigating a second racial incident this week at Raytown High School.
On Wednesday, FOX4 reported about a teacher under investigation at the high school who is accused of using the “N-word” in the classroom this week.
On Friday, the school district said it was brought to their attention that some high school students in an English class received outdated versions of a worksheet used to teach “The Laramie Project.” A question on the worksheet containing racial and sexual slurs asks, “Agree or Disagree: It is okay to use derogatory terms such as (omitted), as long as you are joking.”
In a letter sent to parents Friday, the school district said “the controversial nature of the text and discussion surrounding the reading requires mindful judgement on behalf of educators. The “anticipation worksheet” is used to promote honest conversations among students. The document is a pre-read and these terms are used in the book; however, we understand that it is not necessary to include racial and sexual slurs to get to the point of the question.”
This school year, outdated worksheets had been replaced with a new version that no longer contains racial and sexual slurs, according to the district. Although a new document was provided, previous documents were not removed and outdated versions were shared with students.
“We sincerely apologize to our school community for our oversight,” the district went on to say. “Per Board policy, we will investigate the issue and allow for students and families to have conversations with school and district staff. We cannot discuss any disciplinary actions resulting from the investigation; we will follow Board policy and take appropriate actions.”
“The Laramie Project” is a documentary-style play used in education as a tool to promote crucial conversations around the topics of discrimination, intolerance and hate speech, according to the district. It is a common book in high schools and is also performed across the country in high schools and colleges. The play contains racial and sexual slurs used by characters who represent real people interviewed by the writers.
The school district said the book has been reviewed by its parent advisory group and has been in use for many years and that families are offered alternate texts for a student to read if they or their student feel the topics or language of a specific novel are not suited for the child.
“The district is committed to working together to provide the exceptional experience students deserve,” Superintendent Allan Markley said in the letter. “Please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s school with questions or concerns. Also, please encourage your student to reach out to school staff if they need to talk to someone.”