Students in a particular English class at Lafayette High School were shocked when they received an assignment asking them to agree or disagree with specific uses of the n-word.
The Kentucky class was entering a unit where they would be reading To Kill a Mockingbird and in order to prepare them for the repeated use of the word in the book, their teacher felt it necessary to give the assignment.
Every student in the class received the seven-question worksheet that had the word completely spelled out. After each statement on the worksheet, the students had to either agree or disagree and then explain their reasoning.
“N****r is a derogatory word.”
“It is acceptable for a Black person to say N****r.”
“It is acceptable for a white/nonblack person to say N****r.”
One student in particular, Kiarah Raglin, felt uncomfortable with the assignment and did not know how to respond.
"Everyone kind of laughed, it was a nervous laugh and then we kind of sat there and asked each other, 'Did this really happen?'” Raglin said
Raglin then decided that she should show the assignment to her mother, who became very upset.
"I felt sorry for her to be in this classroom with a predominantly white classroom with a Caucasian teacher standing over her, using these words over and over. These are not words that we use in our home. These are not words that we use. Everybody likes to say ‘your music.’ These are not words that my child is accustomed to,” Raglin’s Mother, Andrea Raglin, said.
Raglin continued to express how she felt that the assignment detracted from the crucial lessons present in To Kill a Mockingbird.
"The whole entire point of the book was missed because of this assignment and seven questions specifically on this word, as opposed to other parts of the book that should've been discussed as well,” Andrea Raglin said.
School officials were only made aware of the assignment after the story went viral.
Principal Bryne Jacobs spoke with WKYT and addressed the assignment.
“We own the mistakes that happen. We apologize. We address them so that they do not happen again,” Principal Jacobs said.
Jacobs did not state whether or not any disciplinary action would be taken toward the teacher, although he did tell reporters that the teacher apologized to the students.