IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Schools under fire for insensitivity on MLK Day

At Willow Elementary School, a lesson plan in segregation backfired when parents called in outrage that minority students had to run laps without access to water while the white students were free to play.
/ Source: NBCLosAngeles.com

Two schools are taking heat for their approaches to honoring Martin Luther King Day.

At the University of California-Irvine, student Ricardo Sparks, co-chairman of the university's Black Studio Union, lodged a formal complaint when the Pippin Commons cafeteria tossed together a last-minute meal and sign reading "MLK Holiday Special: Chicken and Waffles" without university oversight, according to the Los Angeles Times.

UC Irvine spokeswoman Cathy Lawhon acknowledged that the cafeteria's choice of menu on Jan. 17 was not in "good taste," and said all managers and chefs will undergo cultural sensitivity training.

Meanwhile, at Willow Elementary School, a lesson plan in segregation backfired on Jan. 13 when parents called in outrage that their second graders, minority students, ran laps without access to water while the white students were free to play. Originally the lesson called for the reverse to take place the following day, but this never happened in light of the day's previous complaints, the Whittier Daily News wrote. The imbalance also irked parents.

Willow Elementary School Principle Bryan Shaw sent an apology to the parents and children. In part, it read: "The lesson was intended to address the inequities of assigning privileges and obligations based upon the color of a person's skin.

"Regrettably, it sent a different message to the participants and their families."

One parent told the Whittier Daily News that she hopes there will be an ice cream party to smooth things over with the children.