Posted on November 23, 2004

Complaints Bring Lesson Plan Change

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Nov. 20

St. Louis Public Schools administrators pulled a lesson from a new reading curriculum after some parents complained that it was racist.

Lynn Spampinato, the district’s chief academic officer, directed schools on Wednesday to remove the lesson from workbooks and asked the program’s authors to provide a replacement.

The first-grade homework lesson involved the sound the letter “H” makes. It showed a monkey named “Hip.” Hip tipped his hat and tap danced. He ended up in a cage eating a banana at the end of the lesson.

Spampinato said the authors told her they hadn’t had a problem with the lesson before, but they agreed to revise it. Spampinato pointed out that one of the authors is African-American.

The revised lesson renames the monkey “Hap” and has no pictures.