- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) - An Ypsilanti high school student raised concerns after receiving an assignment on racial slurs included in a rap song and news video.

Ypsilanti Community High School sophomore Steven Craig said his world history teacher handed out the lyrics to a song by rapper Nas last week, the Ann Arbor News (http://bit.ly/1x67540 ) reported Tuesday. Students were also asked to watch related CNN videos and read a related essay.

Superintendent Laura Lisiscki said she was aware of the assignment that asked students to write a one-page essay on why racial slurs shouldn’t be used. She said it’s important that students understand the impact of slurs in light of recent racially charged events such as the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

“It’s our responsibility to make our students aware of their surroundings and the positive or negative impact that they can make in their own community,” Lisiscki said. “How else do we teach our kids why not to use certain phrases?”

Although some of his classmates were upset by the assignment, Craig said he wasn’t offended, but he didn’t understand the educational value behind it.

Dorcus McEwen, Craig’s grandmother and legal guardian, said she understands the lesson’s purpose but thinks it was counterproductive because it only focused on one race.

“If they want to teach it in the classroom they should include all nationalities and discuss the words to describe them as well,” she said.

Lisiscki said there was no reprimand planned for the teacher.

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Information from: The Ann Arbor News, http://www.mlive.com/ann-arbor

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