Dr. Mike Looney, director of Williamson County schools, called the assignment “insensitive” and “wholly inappropriate,” in an apology he issued on Twitter.
“In short, the assignment was wholly inappropriate and doesn’t reflect our district’s commitment to treat all students with dignity and respect,” the statement said.
The assignment, which dealt with issues of slavery, immigration and child labor, was given to 8th-grade social studies students at Sunset Middle School in Williamson County.
Part of the homework asked students to imagine that their family owns slaves and then “create a list of expectations” for those slaves, FOX17 Nashville reported.
Family members of the students were flabbergasted at the homework’s sensitive topics.
Dan Fountain, brother of a 13-year-old student in the class, told the Tennessean that the teacher failed to explain the assignment.
"It initially made me angry. The fact that my sister is one of a couple of black kids at her school, I can't let things like this sit around and slide,” he said.
White students make up 70 percent of the school's student body, the paper reported.
"I don't like the aspect that my sister is describing how she would be treated as a slave. It doesn't benefit anyone," Fountain said.
The school has since pulled the assignment and said it will not be graded.
The teachers who assigned the homework also issued apologies to students and their families.