“They put him on the same list as George Floyd”

A high school in Dallas, Texas is under fire for an assignment that placed Kyle Rittenhouse, accused Kenosha shooter, on a list of ‘Modern Heroes’. Alongside Rittenhouse’s name included George Floyd and even Joseph Rosenbaum. 

An unidentified  W.T. White high school teacher assigned their students a paper to write about a modern-day hero. This assignment would’ve been perfectly acceptable until you read the list of modern-day heroes that was provided to the students. 

There are many things to point out about this list. Joseph Rosenbaum, one of the protestors that were shot in Kenosha, is listed under the man who is accused of killing him. Another thing to note is that both Mahatma Gandhi and Malcolm X are spelled incorrectly. Prominent names such as those had people questioning if the error was a quick typo or just plain intentional carelessness. 

The English teacher who created the assignment is now under investigation by the Dallas school district. The school district commented, “An unapproved assignment posted in Google Classroom yesterday has been brought to our attention. Understandably, this caused some concern for the impacted students, and we apologize. Campus administration immediately removed the unapproved content and students are not required to complete that assignment. Due to personnel policies, we are not able to comment further, however, the appropriate steps are being followed pending investigation.” 

The ‘Unapproved’ High School Assignment

The assignment was given to seniors at W.T. White High School in the Dallas Independent School District (ISD). The district did not identify the teacher but the assignment has been removed from Google Classroom. 

A Dallas W.T. school profile for the 2019-2020 school year shows that 6% of the students are white, 81% Hispanic, and 10% are African American.  

Business Insider received a statement from Robyn Harris, director of news and information for Dallas ISD saying, “Racial equity is a top priority in Dallas ISD, and we remain committed to providing a robust teaching environment where all students can learn. It is important that we continue to be culturally sensitive to our diverse populations and provide a space of respect and value.” 

An older sister of a senior at the school reported the assignment to her brother’s principal after sharing the assignment details with her family. Her brother could not believe the assignment he had received from his English teacher.

She told a local news station, “The juxtaposition of George Floyd’s name with Kyle’s name was just astounding. The value of Black lives are not up for debate, and that’s what it felt like this was sort of getting at- by way of the names that were included.”

“It was just like, ‘Oh my gosh, the spelling,’ ‘Oh my gosh, there are no women on here,’ and then very ardently the fact that a White supremacist murderer’s name is on a list with important historical figures”, she continued.

The assignment caused debate on Twitter. Many were offended by the list and was unsure what the teacher was thinking. 

While others thought the assignment was thought-provoking and encouraged perspective. 

Jacob Blake

Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old black man, was training to become a mechanic according to his family. A warrant was issued for Blake’s arrest back in July. The warrant was on charges of third-degree sexual assault, criminal trespass, and disorderly conduct.   

On August 23rd, police received a call informing them that Jacob Blake was at the home of the woman who filed the charges. Officials stated, the police went to arrest Blake and before they shot him, the officers tried to use a taser on him twice. 

Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times in front of his children. Blake had staples placed along his back and abdomen. He is now paralyzed from the waist down. 

A video was posted to social media that quickly sparked more protests for racial justice continued after the death of many Black Americans including George Floyd, Brianna Taylor, and Elijah McClain.

Kyle Rittenhouse

Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old white male, is accused of killing two people and injuring a third during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin. One of the men killed is 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum who was included in the list of ‘Modern Heroes’ the teacher provided. 

The National Foundation of Gun Rights, a conservative gun rights group, raised $50,000 for the Rittenhouse. The group announced they sent it to the teenage for, “defending himself and business owners.” 

Conservatives came to the defense of the teenage believing that his alleged actions were out of self-defense including President Trump. He is being charged as an adult in Wisconsin and faces life in prison if convicted of the highest charge.  

The list of ‘Modern Heroes’ was clearly questionable. It’s hard to see why the teacher thought that was acceptable. Do you think the teacher had a point behind the assignment? Did they create the assignment not realizing it was inappropriate?