Roeper School, President Obama
WJBK-TV, Getty Images

A school teacher in Michigan has been placed on administrative leave after giving students a worksheet that compared former President Barack Obama to monkeys.

Staff at the Birmingham Roeper High School have been doing damage control since the incident last week. Carolyn Lett is the director of diversity at the school.

"It made me feel disgusted - I couldn't believe it," Lett says. "When I first saw it, I'm trying to make sense of it myself."


Lesson Originated from Duke University

The worksheet that was distributed to students compares the likeness of former President Barack Obama and features images of monkeys. The worksheet was originally created by two undergraduate students at Duke University but it has since been removed from the college's resource website.

An Innocent Mistake

School officials say the Roeper school was built on the principles of inclusion and diversity and has a reputation for being sensitive to racial issues.

Lett says the Biology teacher meant no disrespect by distributing the handout and hadn't considered the implications that were being made.

"When this was brought to her attention she was horrified herself, and almost like beating herself up, like 'How did I miss this,'" Lett said. "That's how she explained it."

Increased Effort on Sensitivity Training

The school says it is renewing its efforts to retrain teachers about the importance of social bias issues.

An image of the assignment is included in the video below from WJBK-TV.

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