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Students forced to watch Derek Chauvin trial and pretend to be jurors for class assignment

The school district said it did not approve the assignment, which parents called “unfathomable.”

Derek Chauvin Associated Press

Students at a Texas high school were forced to watch live-streamed footage of Derek Chauvin's murder trial and pretend to be jurors as part of a class assignment. According to local Dallas news outlet WFAA, parents were outraged after learning their children were watching the potentially traumatizing footage, including video of George Floyd’s death, in class without their consent.

“It is unfathomable to me that you felt it appropriate to force my child to watch George Floyd’s murder on television in your classroom and then move on with his day as if nothing had happened,” a letter from parents complaining about the assignment read.

According to the Atlanta Black Star, students at Cedar Hill High School, which has a 75 percent African American student body, were instructed to watch live-streamed footage of the trial for 45 minutes each day. Acting as though they were jurors in the trial, students were also not allowed to speak with their families about the case for six weeks.

“They may not text discuss what they hear with friends, siblings, or relatives – not even the family dog,” the assignment reportedly read.

Parents alerted the Cedar Hill Independent School District about the assignment and complained that the disturbing footage was inappropriate to show in class.

“This murder seen by millions around the globe was triggering and traumatizing for adults. Yet, you left students to handle their own emotions and mental health as they left your class without proper professional support,” parents wrote.

In a statement, school officials said the assignment was not approved by the district and will no longer continue.

“The assignment was not approved by campus or district administrators. The matter has been addressed with the teacher, and the assignment was removed,” the statement read.

Chauvin’s murder trial continued on Monday (April 5) with testimonies from the Minneapolis police chief and the emergency physician who treated Floyd.

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