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Teacher on leave after asking students to justify KKK

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 9/19/2017
Klan members salute during a KKK rally in Charlottesville, Va. on July 8, 2017. © Steve Helber, AP Klan members salute during a KKK rally in Charlottesville, Va. on July 8, 2017.

LEXINGTON, S.C.-- An elementary school teacher is on administrative leave after giving fifth grade students an assignment that asked them to imagine being a member of the KKK in the period after the Civil War.

The assignment was given to students in a class at Oak Pointe Elementary in Lexington-Richland School District Five. Tremain Cooper, who identified himself as the uncle of a student in the class, posted a picture of the assignment on Facebook Thursday. 

"This is my little 10-year-old nephew's homework assignment today," Cooper wrote. "He's home crying right now." 

The homework assignment includes the following question: "You are there...You are a member of the KKK. Why do you think your treatment of African-Americans is justified?"

Underneath the first question is another which says "You are there...you are a freedman. Are you satisfied with your new life? Why or why not?"

School District Five told WLTX-TC that officials are taking the matter "very seriously" and the teacher was placed on administrative leave while the investigation unfolds. 

"We have been in communication and will continue to be in communication with families to let them know our actions and next steps," the statement said.  "South Carolina standards for 5th grade require lessons on Reconstruction and discriminatory groups including the KKK. We must teach the standard, but we are taking steps to ensure this particular assignment will never be used again in District Five schools." 

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