Fifth-grade History Lesson Uses "N-word" in Crossword Puzzle

DUNLAP, Tenn. (AP) -- A crossword puzzle assigned as a homework lesson for some Sequatchie County fifth-graders studying a book about the 19th century South asked them to use the n-word as an answer.

At least one parent complained and the teacher has apologized.

Sequatchie County Middle School principal Donald Johnson says the teacher obtained the crossword from a subscription Web site,

A parent, Clifford Branan, told WTVC-TV in Chattanooga that his son's teacher assigned the homework Friday as a supplement to "Sounder," a book his class is reading.

The book is commonly used in classrooms nationwide to illustrate racial bigotry and sharecropping hardships through the eyes of a young black boy.

Branan said he cannot believe the puzzle with words like cabin, smokehouse and lantern also included the N-word along with its clue, "An insulting way to label a black person."

The principal says a mistake was made, and the word should have never come up on a worksheet.

Johnson said the puzzle answers were words associated with the book. He declined to identify the teacher.

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