LANSING, Mich. (May 19, 2022) — Today, Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) and Rep. Mari Manoogian (D-Birmingham) issued the following statement after a teacher at The Roeper School, the oldest K-12 school for gifted children in the country, tasked high school biology students with an assignment about primates, in which former President Barack Obama’s photo was featured and compared to apes, monkeys, and lemurs:

“Today, we learned that the racist materials presented in a classroom at Roeper came from a lesson plan produced by Duke University. This incident is an ugly reminder that racism and damaging racist tropes are still very present today, even among prestigious institutions. As a community and a country, we should be far beyond such commonplace racist, ignorant tropes being used in our schools. Sadly, and disturbingly, we are not. We must all be vigilant in calling out racism, condemning it, and ultimately — resolving to do better. Racism has no place in the classroom and no place in our community.”