Parents of some elementary school students in Texas are furious over a class assignment in which children were asked to draw highly disturbing images depicting the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
The fourth-grade teacher gave specific instructions to students at Hughey Elementary School in El Paso, Ivie Gremillion, a parent of one of the students, told KFOXTV in El Paso.
“We had to draw the boom cloud, the planes hitting, and people jumping out of the windows,” Gremillion's daughter told her after the assignment was given out on Monday.
"We regret the insensitivity that this action may have caused and ... extend our sincere apologies.”
- El Paso school officials
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The drawing by Gremillion’s daughter depicted people jumping out of burning buildings yelling, 'Help,' and 'I love you,' while another student's drawing showed a person saying: 'One way ticket to heaven.'
"That's something that kids should get in trouble for drawing,” Gremillion said. “That's people being murdered, committing suicide.”
The lesson, however, did not stop there, Gremillion said.
"The Afghans did this because they hate all of us and want to kill all of us,'" Gremillion claims the teacher told her daughter.
Gremillion said her husband, who joined the Army because of Sept. 11 attacks, will be deployed to Afghanistan by the end of 2012.
"She's like, 'My dad's going to die,'" Gremillion quoted her daughter as saying.
Gremillion said her neighbor's son, who drew another similar picture, was also emotionally affected by the assignment.
"He was under the impression this happens every 9/11, and he was scared to leave his house and go to school yesterday," she said.
Gremillion said she’d like a counselor to address the class to clarify the events of that day – without the gruesome details.
"She doesn't need to know that, not at her age," said Gremillion. "The way she worded [it] is just teaching racism and hate for an entire nation, and that's not OK.”
In a statement to KFOXTV.com, El Paso Independent School District officials apologized for the assignment and said they spoke to the teacher, who said the terrorist attacks were part of a class discussion and that students were asked to draw something they learned during that lesson.
Some students, school officials said, depicted images of police officers and firefighters who were labeled as heroes.
“EPISD is very concerned about the images that were drawn in response to a lesson on the events of September 11,” the statement read. “District and campus administrators are investigating the specific assignment and are interviewing the personnel involved. We regret the insensitivity that this action may have caused and wish to assure our community that we will act swiftly in this matter and will take any and all appropriate action. We extend our sincere apologies.”