Teacher on leave after giving assignment showing picture of Barack Obama next to primates
Teacher on leave after giving assignment showing picture of Barack Obama next to primates (WDIV, Roeper School, Duke University, CNN/CNN Newsource)

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. (WKRC/WDIV/CNN Newsource) - A teacher in Michigan is on leave after administrators say she gave out an assignment showing a photo of former president Barack Obama alongside several primates.


The assignment on evolution asked, “Which of the following are primates?”

Many parents, students, and staff say regardless of intent, it was inappropriate and offensive.

Carolyn Lett is the director of diversity for the Roeper School.

Lett says as soon as she saw the assignment, she immediately had questions.

"Is this something the teacher did purposely -- put this picture in along with the animals and the apes?" she said. "I'm trying to understand this myself. Right away, I had the reaction, 'It's so wrong. I cant understand it.'"

Lett told the Roeper administration, "She had her biology hat on, but didn't realize the awareness that she should have had culturally."

The lesson also included more than one photo of the former president.

Lett says the offensive images have hurt the students, and she asked the teacher how she plans to rectify the situation.

"Here, intentions were a certain way, but the the impact now, she realized it had a very negative effect on her students. [She said] 'I need to have a conversation with my students.' I said, 'What will that conversation look like? Own the mistake that you've done.'"

The school did not hold classes Thursday.

Police were stationed outside due to threats made online.

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