When Donald Trump initially refused to condemn the KKK and white nationalists who terrorized Charlottesville, he made it clear he tolerates violent racism.

And as many have pointed out, kids are watching. So when one South Carolina fifth-grade teacher assigned homework that attempted to humanize a hate group that has terrorized African-Americans for centuries, she should have been fired. 

Fifth grade
photo: iStock

The prompt is not only infuriating, it was deeply traumatic for one fifth grader who cried upon reading it.

His uncle quickly took notice and posted a picture of the assignment on Facebook, writing,

"CHECK IT OUT FAMILY. CHECK IT OUT FAMILY. I NEED YALL TO HELP ME. THIS IS MY LITTLE 10 YEAR OLD NEPHEW'S HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT today. HE'S HOME CRYING RIGHT NOW. THE TEACHER'S NAME IS KERRI ROBERTS AT OAKPOINT ELEMENTARY IN DISTRICT 5 IN IRMO, SC right outside of my hometown of Columbia, S.C. HOW CAN SHE ASK A 5TH GRADER TO JUSTIFY THE ACTIONS OF THE KKK??? WE ARE CONTACTING EVERYBODY FROM THE SCHOOL TO THE MEDIA. PLEASE HELP. PLEASE SHARE. #KerriRoberts #OakpointElementary#District5 #IrmoSC."

This assignment not only asked students to imagine themselves as members of the KKK, it asked them to imagine themselves as "newly freed slaves."

It is repulsive beyond explanation. No student should ever be made to justify a hate group's violent bigotry. It implies that the KKK's actions are excusable, which is an immensely dangerous message to teach young children and a deeply traumatic message to tell young Black children. No student should ever have their family's history of oppression be trivialized. 

Teachers need to be very mindful when teaching children about a time period that's so deeply painful, especially when teaching students of color. One user on Facebook commented, "This absolutely breaks my heart. This teacher and this assignment are part of the problem. I am so sorry to this child that he has been failed by someone that should enrich him and lift him up."

The teacher is on administrative leave, and the school district says it's continuing its investigation.

The school also promised it would never hand out this assignment again. But the problem is, it should never have been assigned in the first place.