DD4 parents concerned over homework question about slave punishment under Hammurabi Code

Dorchester County News

DORCHESTER, S.C. (WCBD) – Parents of a student at St. George Middle School in Dorchester District 4 (DD4) are expressing concerns about a recent homework assignment they feel was inappropriate.

Lanesha Green said that her 11 year old is learning about the Hammurabi Code, an ancient set of Mesopotamian laws. Green was struck by a question which asked the students to put themselves in the shoes of slave owners, and punish a slave based on the code. The question read:

“A slave stands before you. This slave has disrespected his master by telling him ‘you are not my master!’ How will you punish the slave?”

Green says that she has a problem with that question. Green’s daughter, Justice, had a problem with the question when she read it as well:

“Since slavery was not that long ago it’s asking a kid a sixth grade child to be put in a position as a slave owner.

DD4 agreed that the question was inappropriate. They released the following statement:

The District has reviewed the attached homework assignment for a social studies class regarding Hammurabi’s Code. The question on punishment for a slave is inappropriate. While the District reviews lesson plans, it does not normally review specific assignments. We recognize that the inclusion of this question in the assignment did not adequately consider the potential concerns of students and parents. We have shared this with the teacher so that this will not happen again. The District understands the parental concerns and will continue our work to provide a supportive learning environment.  

The original activity, which includes other questions about what actions should be taken based on Hammurabi Code, is below:

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