An Ohio middle school is under fire after an assignment asked students to decide based on gender, sex and other factors who to save if the world was ending.
Students at Roberts Middle School in Cuyahoga Falls were asked to make the decision in the “Whom to Leave Behind” assignment, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.
The not-yet identified teacher asked students to choose eight of 12 people to put on a space ship to take to a different planet if the Earth was about to be destroyed.
Some of the choices included in the controversial assignment, which parents slammed as “insensitive,” included a “militant African-American medical student,” a “homosexual, male professional athlete” and a “female movie star who was recently the victim of sexual assault.”
“What does her being Muslim have to do with it,” Bernadette Hartman said, referring to another description on the list, according to WKYC-TV. “What does being female have to do with it.”
Hartman’s son received the assignment in an 8th grade social studies class last week and said it made him feel uncomfortable. It also left the mother at a loss for words, adding, “this paper divides. It doesn’t pull anybody together.”
“It’s hard for me to put it into words,” she said. “It’s just hard.”
“We take the matter very seriously, we are investigating it and we expect it to be completed very early next week with a resolution,” Superintendent Todd Nichols, who met with the unnamed teacher, said.
“What did he expect to get out of this?” Denise Petron, whose grandson was given the assignment, questioned the teacher’s judgement.
Ward 8 Councilman Russ Iona echoed her sentiments.
“I was kind of surprised by all the stereotypes on this,” the Republican councilman said. “I’m not sure of where they are going with this or what purpose it was to serve.”
Republican Councilman Adam Miller, who posted the assignment on his Facebook page, said he had a “sincere conversation” with the teacher who assured him it would not be used in the future.
“I think the parents should have been made aware the assignment was happening so they can put certain terms within that project into context,”the Cuyahoga Falls Ward 6 City councilman told WKYC.
While outraged parents don’t seem to be calling for the teacher to be fired, they are demanding answers and hope it never happens again.
“I think the whole curriculum needs to be more monitored so opinions of the faculty aren’t injected into the classroom,” Petron said.
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