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Classroom Assignment Meant To Be History Lesson Sparks Outrage

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A copy of the homework assignment given to FOX 29 by a parent. A copy of the homework assignment given to FOX 29 by a parent.
SALEM COUNTY, N.J. -

A classroom assignment about slavery has sparked outrage at a Salem County middle school.

The outrage sparked over an assignment that was supposed to be a lesson at the end of Black History Month.

Tensions ran high at the Penns Grove-Carneys Point School Board meeting Monday night when the assignment was discussed.

According to the assignment sheet given to FOX 29 by parents, students were asked to choose to be a slave owner or an abolitionist. The students were asked to create a post that explained their argument.

It was one poster in particular that looked like a wanted poster for a slave on the run that sparked the outrage.

It's not clear if the poster was ever hung in school.

"Students were asked to write persuasive essays talking about the problems of slavery and the issues of slavery," Superintendent Dr. Joseph Massare told FOX 29's Chris O'Connell.

Dr. Massare says the poster project came after a reading assignment of the book "Nightjohn," which tells the story of a slave who helped other slaves to read.

"You are not telling them the great strides out of the black struggle," said Walter Hudson of the National Awareness Alliance. "You are telling them what the slave master did."

School officials say they received a complaint from a single parent.

Although the principal signed off on the assignment, school officials did admit it could have been handled differently.

The National Awareness Alliance says they want a formal apology from the teacher and the principal.

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