JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The lynchings of African-Americans during the late 1800s is one of the last things James Hill expected his second-grader to come home with in a coloring book.
Hill said his 7-year-old son's assignment at Atlantic Beach Elementary School was to color in the pictures and read the text in the comic entitled "Who Was Jim Crow?" as a part of Black History Month.
"We were flipping through it and he was bragging about his coloring and staying between the lines, and we came across this depiction of the murder scene," Hill said. "The lynching scene is inappropriate for second graders. It caught us off guard. We were like, 'What is this?'"
"The image of the actual hanging in the tree, that bothered him," Hill added.
Hill said he was also taken aback by other pictures in the coloring book showing African-Americans with exaggerated facial features. Hill said the black history lesson also failed to highlight all the white people who helped to abolish slavery in 1863.
"I think everyone depicted in the document will be equally offended by the fact that on the Caucasian side, they were depicted as all black people weren't liked by white people, which is a generalization, which is almost astonishing," Hill said.
Duval County Public Schools officials said they're investigating if the material found on edHelper.com was approved for second-graders by the School Board.
SEE FOR YOURSELF: "Who Was Jim Crow?" book from edHelper.com
"The instructional materials were used in a second-grade classroom, and that has raised a red flag in return," Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said. "We are actively investigating."
"A lynching is an inappropriate thing. It's visual, and they have a lot of questions about it," said one parent of a second-grader at the school who didn't want to be identified. "And if you're not there to address it with them, it can be frightening for them."
"The fact that there were atrocities that took place in the whole issue of slavery, it's just too early -- second grade -- for graphic images," Hill said.
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