Utica Councilman Furious Over Offensive Homework Assignment Given to Whitesboro Students
A Utica Councilman is furious and offended over an assignment given to Whitesboro High School students by a teacher of personal finance.
Delvin Moody represents the 5th District in the City of Utica and in that district is the neighborhood known as Cornhill. Moody posted on his social media accounts Friday, September 17th an image of an assignment given to Whitesboro High School students that he received a copy of.
The teacher tasked the students with coming up with a budget plan based on receiving a new job with a salary of $36,000 per year and set up a scenario in which to plan their financial plan. The assignment read,
You have just graduated from college and have found a great job locally that pays $36,000 a year. You want to get your own apartment but your mother worries about you and doesn’t want you to get shot in corn hill. You must have a car to get to work. Budget your money assuming that your taxes coming out of your paycheck will be about 18.5%. Use the form below to fill out the budget sheet. Things that should be considered: food, entertainment, phone, cable, rent, heat, water, electric, gas for car, clothing, garbage, insurance, car payment and savings.
It then goes on to provide a breakdown of the items for the students to fill in their budgetary line items and cost. What is blatantly offensive to Moody is the reference to being shot in corn hill. Moody says in his social media post that he’s not only mad, he’s downright pissed. Obviously Moody takes offense to the implication that anyone who lives in Cornhill will be shot and that it’s a dangerous place for people to live. He writes,
NOT ON MY WATCH! I am drafting a letter to the Superintendent of Whitesboro School and forwarding the letter to the New York State NAACP! I am appalled that this is a Whitesboro HS Finance Teacher. If you don’t know, Cornhill is not the community to play these games with. We stand up against this blatant bigotry.
The Whitesboro Central School District Superintendent Brian Bellair has issued a statement including an apology from the teacher who issued the assignment, Eric Paul. Paul's apology reads,
Last week I fell short as an educator and role model. In an assignment, for my Personal Finance class, I used insensitive, offensive language, and I’m sincerely sorry. I realized how divisive and disparaging my words were to the Cornhill community, and I apologize. It was not my intention to insult the good people that live in Cornhill, or anybody that had lived there in the past. In addition, I apologize to the Whitesboro School District and community for any distress this has caused. I take my responsibilities as an educator seriously. As I have often shared with my students, when you make a mistake you have to own it, and try to make amends. Words matter, and mine were poorly chosen. I have learned a valuable lesson, and will take the opportunity to pass this lesson on to my students. I am sorry, and I will do better in the future.
Superintendent Bellair issued the following statement.
We have known Mr. Paul as a child-centered teacher in the District as a long-time employee and we trust the sincerity behind his apology. That said, we recognize that we have some essential professional development to continue with our staff regarding bias, diversity, equity and inclusion.
You can see Moody's Facebook post below.