By Vandana Ravikumar
The Dallas Morning News
DALLAS — A controversial assignment given to students at W.T. White High School in Dallas has drawn criticism and outcry for implying that accused Kenosha, Wisconsin, shooter Kyle Rittenhouse is a “hero.”
The assignment, titled “Hero for the Modern Age,” asked students to write a half-page biography about each of six potential “heroes” and then write an essay about one of them. In addition to Rittenhouse, the list included Mahatma Gandhi, Cesar Chavez, Malcolm X, George Floyd and Joseph Rosenbaum. The names of Gandhi and Malcolm X were misspelled, according to viral photos of the assignment.
Rosenbaum was one of the two people killed in the shooting Rittenhouse was accused of committing. The shooting, which also left a third person injured, occurred at a protest in Kenosha in which demonstrators were responding to the police shooting of a Black man.
The assignment quickly garnered attention and complaints on social media. About 90% of students in the Dallas Independent School District are Black or Latino.
Dallas school officials said the assignment had been brought to their attention and that students would not be asked to complete it.
“Racial equity is a top priority in Dallas ISD, and we remain committed to providing a robust teaching environment where all students can learn,” school district officials said in a written statement. “It is important that we continue to be culturally sensitive to our diverse populations and provide a space of respect and value.”
The Dallas Morning News reached out to the teacher, whose name was on the assignment, but did not receive a response before publication.
Rittenhouse, 17, received national attention in August after bringing a military-style semiautomatic rifle to a demonstration in Kenosha. Protesters had rallied there for several days after Jacob Blake was shot by police.
Demonstrations were held nationwide this summer as protesters called for justice in the killings of Black Americans at the hands of police, including Floyd in Minneapolis.
Rittenhouse allegedly fired the weapon four times before attempting to flee the scene, according to The New York Times.
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