Make your home page

Lafayette student questions use of ‘ghetto’ in school assignment

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — A Lafayette Sunnyside Intermediate family is upset about a question on an assignment handed out Thursday morning. 

“I’m just like, wow,” said Sunnyside mom Sharnequa Bealim. “For her to be 11 and she’s just like ‘Mommy, look, look at our work!’”

The student knew something wasn’t right about one of her quiz questions:

Jed wanted an education so he could:

A. Raise up from the ghetto 

B. Rise up from the ghetto

“I took it offensive! And I’m a single parent!” said Bealim. 

She worries about how this question affects kids from low-income families. 

“When they’re reading it, they probably all have that installed like, ‘Oh, my parents didn’t have enough education. This is why we stay here,’” said Bealim. 

The student’s grandfather, Elliot Cameron, is upset, too.

“That’s me coming from Chicago and growing up in some of the worst parts of the city,” said Cameron. 

He just keeps asking why?

WLFI took the matter to Sunnyside Principal Matthew Brown. He said he hadn’t seen the quiz question but he was going to look into it and then meet with the family of the student.

“He apologized and said it won’t happen again and they’re going to remove the question,” said Cameron. 

We later received a statement from Principal Brown:

“The word “ghetto,” with its historically complicated origins, was included in a student assessment published by a third-party vendor. Our staff is encouraged to carefully scrutinize the work of outside publishers and online resource sites. In the future, we will insure that students are provided with the appropriate context for complex vocabulary. We apologize for the unnecessary anxiety and concern this created. We are proud of the student for bringing their concern to the attention of an adult.”

“If the question wasn’t manufactured by the teacher, and it was manufactured by the site, you should have done a review of the questions before you gave them to the students anyway,” responded Cameron. 

He is glad the school is doing something about it but he’s still baffled.

“There’s no reason for that question,” said Cameron.