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A high school in Dallas has come under fire from some parents who objected to an assignment in which students could consider Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse as a “hero for the modern age.”
Rittenhouse, 17, who has been accused of murdering two rioters in the Wisconsin city after video showed him coming under assault by multiple attackers wielding a skateboard and a handgun, was among a number of choices including 1960s civil rights activist Malcolm X and Indian anti-colonial activist Mahatma Ghandi, Newsweek reported.
Included on the list as well were George Floyd, whose death at the hands of police in Minneapolis this spring led to nationwide rioting, and César Chávez, a leftist Latino American civil rights activist. Joseph Rosenbaum, one of the two rioters Rittenhouse is accused of murdering, was also on the list.
Newsweek reported that English students at the Warren Travis White High School in Dallas were asked to pick one of the figures and write a half-page biography of them as one part of the assignment.
In part two, the students were then asked to explain which of them best “demonstrates best your concept of a hero.”
One woman who only identified herself as Kristian told CBS 11 she was not only angered by the inclusion of Rittenhouse — who has not yet faced trial — and that there were no women on the list. In an interview with the local outlet, she also accused Rittenhouse of being a “white supremacist,” though there is no evidence linking him to any such groups or expressing any such ideology.
Others said putting Rittenhouse on the list was “appalling and unacceptable,” Newsweek added.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Dallas public school district noted, “An unapproved assignment posted in Google Classroom yesterday has been brought to our attention.
“Understandably, this caused concern for the impacted students, and we apologize. Campus administration immediately removed the unapproved content and students are not required to complete that assignment,” the statement to Newsweek continued.
“Due to personnel policies, we are not able to comment further, however, the appropriate steps are being followed pending investigation. Racial equity is a top priority in Dallas ISD, and we remain committed to providing a robust teaching environment where all students can learn,” the statement noted further, without providing any context as to how the inclusion of Rittenhouse was detrimental to “racial equity” or how his case ties into race at all.
“It is important that we continue to be culturally sensitive to our diverse populations and provide a space of respect and values,” the statement noted further.
Earlier this month, President Donald Trump was asked to comment on the shootings, but refused to directly denounce or support Rittenhouse, recounting instead what he and scores of other Americans have seen in viral videos of the incidents.
“That was an interesting situation. He was trying to get away from them, I guess, it looked like, and he fell, and then they very violently attacked him,” Trump said, repeatedly stating that the incidents were under investigation.
“He was in very big trouble,” the president noted further. “He probably would have been killed.”
Rittenhouse’s legal team has said the actions he took were in self-defense, which Wisconsin law appears to support.
“In plainer terms, you can use force against another person if you reasonably believe force is necessary to prevent the imminent death or serious bodily injury of yourself or another,” Madison-based law firm Nicholson, Gansner & Otis, S.C. notes.
“The law does not require that you become injured before using self-defense. It doesn’t even require you to actually be in any danger. Instead, the law is all about what you reasonably believe under the circumstances,” the firm further notes in a Q&A posted to its website.
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