SUFFOLK, Va. (WVEC) – Escaped alive though the car was battered / Rat-a-tat-tatted and the cops scattered / Ran out of bullets and still had static / Grabbed a pregnant lady and out the automatic
Are these rap lyrics appropriate to teach 6th graders? Suffolk parent Ashley Ehrhardt has a son at John F. Kennedy Middle School. She reached out to 13News Now, outraged about a “poem” her son’s substitute teacher handed out to students and had them recite.
The poem is actually rap lyrics to a Slick Rick song called Children’s Story. The song, made popular in the 1980’s, references shooting up drugs, pointing a gun to a pregnant women’s head, and shooting at police.
Ehrhardt said the song is “not appropriate” for a teacher to have 6th graders recite and study. She also questioned whether the school approved the rap lyrics as part of the curriculum, or knew if it was being taught in the classroom.
13News Now reached out to Suffolk Public Schools, and a spokesperson confirmed the content was not approved for sixth graders.
Suffolk Public Schools Public Information Officer Bethanne Bradshaw issued the following statement:
A parent contacted the JFKMS principal on Friday (Dec 16) concerned about the passage some sixth-grade teacher had used earlier in the week. The principal met with those teachers to discuss how it was inappropriate, and they agreed it should not have been used during the lesson. School administrators will more closely monitor their lesson plans, supplemental materials, and assignments. SPS encourages teachers to be creative, but they are also expected to exercise a high degree of professional judgment in their selection and use of supplemental materials, to ensure that the use of such materials serve to both support and complement the lesson. The principal will be sending a letter home to parents as well."
Bradshaw said the assignment was intended to identify figurative language, and that the school was not made aware of the lesson until a parent contacted the principal on Friday.