Substitute teacher criticized for Chief Keef lessons

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ByLeah Hope via WLS logo
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
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A Chicago elementary school substitute teacher is under fire after teaching sixth graders at Fiske Elementary about controversial rapper Chief Keef.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago elementary school substitute teacher and the school that hired her are under fire after teaching sixth graders at Fiske Elementary about controversial local rapper Chief Keef. Parents say the material is inappropriate.

Young people growing up in Chicago may very well hear Chief Keef and know about his criminal history, but parents did not expect him to show up in a school lesson plan.

A spokeswoman for Chicago Public Schools said Tuesday was the teacher's last day. She was teaching music class.

"If you were a sub, you were supposed to take on whatever assignment the regular teacher was given, not what you wanted to give them," says Fiske parent Shawnta Powell.

Powell says she is upset to learn the sub had a lesson based on Chief Keef.

Keef's real name is Keith Cozart. A Chicago rapper, he has notoriously been in and out of trouble for years. Keef grew a following with his hard street lyrics laced with profanity and references to drugs and violence.

"With this assignment you're basically teaching children, ok, well you can go out there and get you some guns," says parent Katrina Sanders.

ABC7 obtained a copy of the 6th grade assignment that included questions about where and why was Keef on house arrest, who shot Keef and when Keef dropped out of Chicago Public schools.

A CPS spokeswoman tells us: "This inappropriate project was immediately suspended by the principal as soon as she learned about it. While teachers have flexibility in making assignments, CPS requires them to provide age-appropriate material in the classroom."

Sanders thought her son would learn about different composers and music history at school instead she says her son was researching Keef's criminal history and listening to his music in class.

"We already know children are exposed to a lot of things, but with this type of work and a young man that has a rap history, that's a bit much for a sixth grader," she says.

The creator of Fake Shore Drive, a Chicago hip hop blog, says it makes sense to have Chief Keef in a curriculum that's age appropriate because kids know about him, but to be asking students about his criminal history is ridiculous.

Parents now hope their children will get back to learning about music history and perhaps using some other music legends in their lessons.