Waldorf, MD- On Wednesday, September 9, 2020, social media posts circulated around Facebook involving a teacher assigning what some are calling an ‘inappropriate assignment’ from Lackey High School in Charles County. That teacher, Mr. John Folse, a special education teacher at Lackey High School, had allegedly ‘changed’ plans on his students suddenly.
According to a social media post showing the message from the teacher to the students, the teacher wanted students to stop their original assignment, and instead, “write a list of black people killed by police since Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.” He called the assignment “Say their name”. He wanted students to write their names, the date of their death, and the place where they died. Mr. Folse even went as far as offering extra credit if the students could provide the circumstances surrounding their death.
Southern Maryland Chronicle has reached out to Katie O’Malley-Simpson, spokesperson for Charles County Public Schools. Mrs. O’Malley-Simpson sent us this comment on behalf of Charles County Public Schools.
“This morning, Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) was alerted of an assignment by a Henry E. Lackey High School English teacher that is causing some concern in our community. The assignment, sent to the teacher’s English classes, was titled “Say their Names.” It prompted students to write a list of black people killed by police since Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, including their names, death date, and place. For extra credit, the students could write a sentence or two about the circumstances of their deaths.
We have reviewed the teacher’s assignment that was sent through email to students and has since been posted on social media. A topic such as the one raised in this assignment is inappropriate as a stand-alone written assignment. The teacher presented the assignment without background, lesson plans, or in-class discussion guided by a teacher.
Social justice topics are a meaningful way to engage students in the curriculum. Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) uses the curriculum to guide the discussion of social justice topics. Teachers write and review lesson plans with fellow educators and content specialists based on the Maryland standards. Teachers also receive training on how to engage students in discussions about current events that might involve sensitive issues.
CCPS teachers infuse social justice into social studies classes and use the curriculum to guide discussion and lessons. We encourage thoughtful discussion of current events and expect teachers to approach these lessons with sensitivity for all viewpoints.”
The Southern Maryland Chronicle has subsequently reached out for more information regarding whether or not an investigation into the teacher will happen or if there will be ramifications for his actions.
This is an ongoing investigation by the Southern Maryland Chronicle. Any parent wishing to interview with Southern Maryland Chronicle regarding this situation may contact Suzanne Copeland at firstname.lastname@example.org.