LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — An elementary school assignment question in Fayette County is creating conflict between police and educators.
The Kentucky Peace Officers’ Association says the question on a fifth-grade assignment “targets police”.
The question reads, “What is the relationship between Jacob Blake and Breonna Taylor?”. The first answer choice says: “Both were victims of police violence, sparking protests against racial injustice”.
“The way the question was worded was very inappropriate,” says retired educator Jim Combs. “That’s something you have to be very careful with the younger they are just so they understand.
Combs retired from Fayette County Public Schools years ago. It’s not a question he would’ve used in class, especially in this climate or with that age group.
“When you’re talking elementary school age that’s a fine line,” says Combs.
A fine line between teaching kids sensitive and hot-button topics appropriately or not.
“There are issues that parents are going to want to explain to their children themselves,” says Combs. “They’re gonna know what their children can and cannot deal with.”
The Lexington Black Lives Matter group, LPD Accountability, thinks the question was just.
Organizer April Taylor says “unfortunately the killing and injuring of black people by police is current events” and “asking a question about it does not target police”.
She says, “Nothing about the way the question was presented or the choices were done in a biased or derogatory way.”
The Kentucky Peace Officers’ Association disagrees.
The group says, “…while it is the responsibility of educational leaders to shape the future, it is not their right to so in a manner designed to intentionally and negatively influence young minds and promote a political agenda.”
The school district stands by the assignment, which was part of testing students’ reading comprehension on a broader subject about the postponement of NBA playoff games following player boycotts.
The district says, “While we appreciate some may believe the topic was too mature for fifth graders, it is critical that our classrooms be safe places where students can discuss current events.”
Lexington FOP President Jonathan Bastian says he is disappointed with the question. He understands FCPS didn’t write that curriculum but says it’s a source they’ve authorized and they need to be help accountable.
He’s concerned the question has some pretty incendiary language in it and says the article itself has inaccuracy in it.
The peace officers say they want to meet with the school district.