'N-word' used in Horn Lake Middle School lesson

Published: Oct. 5, 2017 at 7:55 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 5, 2017 at 9:57 PM CDT
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HORN LAKE, MS (WMC) - Parents are upset over a lesson plan that teaches middle school students about the N-word.

DeSoto County Schools officials said the lesson was to promote social justice and diversity. The assignment was to read a New York Times article on race relations that included the N-word.

However, the use of that word is only part of the reason a parent is upset.

Shawn Grayson's son goes to Horn Lake Middle School.

She said when she found out about the assignment she was concerned, but she was even more concerned to find out the teacher used the N-word in class several times.

"I feel like it teaches hate, and we aren't trying to teach hate," Grayson said.

Grayson said she took this matter up with the administration at Horn Lake Middle and even the school district.

"Now that you guys are teaching this stuff, this day and age with things that are going on, that word shouldn't have even been there, it should be far from our vocabulary," Grayson said.

She also believes the assignment could have been handled differently.

"A lot of people don't teach this word," Grayson said. "No matter what race they are, they don't want their kids to know this word. They say it's a bad word. Don't say this word."

According to her son, the conversation after got out of hand, with the N-word being used several times.

"Just like you guys send papers home [with] the students if they need to watch this video and all that, you guys should have sent this home," Grayson said. "Then they told me this has been in the school for four or five years. I was shocked, I said 'I bet a parent never seen this.'"

Teachers at Horn Lake Middle School developed the lesson plan, but it will no longer be taught, according to DeSoto County Schools.

"The lesson in question was developed by Horn Lake Middle School teachers using supplemental material from The New York Times educational resources. The intention of the lesson was to promote social justice and diversity. However, the delivery did not lead to their desired outcomes. District officials reviewed the lesson and resources, and the school will no longer teach it."

The Mississippi chapter of Black Lives Matter is now involved, and leaders say this mishap shows the need for racial sensitivity training in the schools.

"If they were going to use this text it should have been communicated with the parents," said Tikeila Rucker with Black Lives Matter Mississippi.

Black Lives Matter Mississippi held a press conference Thursday about the controversy.

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