Mid-South father upset over teacher's 9/11 homework assignment

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A parent says a Mid-South teacher went too far with an assignment about the 9/11 terror attacks.

Gerald Berry reached out to WMC Action News 5 in search of answers after he felt an assignment on the 9/11 terror attacks given to his twin daughters by their history teacher at Hoxie High School in Arkansas was insensitive and offensive.

"Very upset, very disturbed," Berry said. "Several thousand people lost their lives that day. It's not a fictional story, it's history."

The original assignment asked students to write a fictional story in first person, and they or their family members could be in the Twin Towers, or they could watch the attack play out from the street. The assignment even says, "You can die, you decide."

"To me is very disrespectful, you don't do stuff like that," Berry said.

The superintendent of the school district, Radius Baker, sent WMC5's Jerry Askin this statement:

In an attempt to increase growth in writing, Hoxie Schools instructed all disciplines to incorporate more writing into their assignments.  In an attempt to follow this directive, a world history instructor presented an assignment to the class after finishing a unit on the events of 9/11. The teacher instructed them to write about the tragedy of September 11, 2001 from a point of view of their choice. After the school district received a complaint from a parent, the administrator and instructor agreed that some of the wording of the prompt could be regarded as insensitive. The instructor changed the wording of the prompt. An alternative writing assignment was given and the parent was notified of the changes. Once the history instructor was advised of the complaint, full cooperation was given.

The students were given an alternate assignment that was a series of questions about 9/11.

The superintendent said that the father and the principal can meet to work out further concerns.

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