Parents are outraged and district officials are demanding answers after one parent raised questions about an online social studies lesson for kindergarteners in Peoria Public Schools.
Dayijah Jemm posted an image of the lesson to Facebook yesterday and the ordeal snowballed from there.
I’m over dead they said “which family don’t have a dad” 🥴 Peoria Public Schools District 150 quit playing with us 😒
MORE NEWS: How to prepare for face-to-face classes
“I’m over dead they said ‘which family don’t have a dad,” Jemm posted with a screenshot of the lesson and an eye roll emoji, “Peoria School District 150 quit playing with us.”
The screenshot captured a lesson that posed the question: “What is a family?”
The possible answers came in the form of pictures, one with a black woman and her daughter, another with a white mother, father and son.
“This is the Brain washing at a young age we are supposed to be paying attention to,” Toretta Johnson responded to the post. “It’s always been here right in front of our face, we need to stay woke.”
Superintendent Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat refused to answer questions about the lesson from WEEK, opting instead to issue a prepared statement.
“What was presented in that lesson was totally out of touch. My own family would not have been selected because it was just my mom and us kids growing up. There are many make-ups to families — one mom, one dad, two moms, two dads, grandparents, foster parents,” the superintendent wrote.
“The good news is that, as soon as this was brought to our attention, we contacted the vendor’s coursework development team, and in five minutes they responded and were able to adjust it. Out of the 985,000 lessons being offered by that vendor, any lesson tagged as racist or sexist are reviewed and revised within one business day. We appreciate the feedback from our families.”
School board member Daniel Walther told the news site the vendor responsible for the curriculum is a company called Acellus, which was selected by Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Sandra Wilson despite concerns about the contract.
The district pays $100 per student for about 2,000 students, and Walther isn’t convinced it’s a good deal.
“This isn’t a little glitch, this is a big glitch. That’s certainly not my feeling of how you define a family. It perpetuates a racial discrimination thing,” he said.
“It’s not the teachers fault. If this thing goes on, this is Acellus’ fault. And I put this back on a couple administrators that should’ve known it was a problem,” said Walther.
Walther said he plans to call on Wilson for answers at the next school board meeting.
“And frankly I think the two administrators who recommended it had better be able to give us some good explanations,” he said.