Teacher Tells Students To Pick Who Lives or Dies Based on One-Line Profiles

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2018/08/28/teacher-tells-students-to-pick-who-lives-or-dies-based-on-one-line-profiles/

A northern Ohio public school teacher asked seventh and eighth grade students to pick eight of 12 hypothetical people to save based on occupation, race, religion, sex, age, nationality, and sexual orientation – with the remaining four doomed to destruction.

Among the candidates:  “a homosexual, male professional athlete”; “a Hispanic clergyman who is against homosexuality”; “a militant African-American medical student”; a “60-year-old Jewish university administrator; “a racist armed police officer who has been accused of using excessive force.”

After an uproar late last week, the superintendent apologized Monday to parents for offending them but not for the assignment itself, which he said was intended “to engage in an activity in diversity designed to promote tolerance and break down stereotypes.”

The exercise, which the superintendent said was taken from the University of Houston’s Diversity Activities Resource Guide, “was used as an ice-breaker during the first full week of school such that students can better understand each other and participate in group activities more successfully.”

But parents weren’t impressed.

“Unfortunately, some parents were upset and concerned by this particular assignment and thought it was not age-appropriate. The teacher and District offer their most sincere apologies for the offense caused by the content used in this assignment,” said Todd M. Nichols, superintendent and chief executive officer of Cuyahoga Falls School District, in a written statement. “Future assignments on this topic will be more carefully selected.”

The assignment was given to four classes at Roberts Middle School by a teacher the school district has not publicly named.

Cuyahoga Falls is a city of about 50,000 people just north of Akron.

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Editor’s Note:  A retyped version of the text of the assignment appears below:

 

Whom to Leave Behind

Instructions:  The twelve persons listed below have been selected as passengers on a space ship on a flight to another planet because tomorrow because tomorrow the planet Earth is doomed for destruction. Due to changes in space limitations, it has now been determined that only eight persons may go. Any eight qualify.

Your task is to select Eight (8) passengers who will make the trip. On your own take approximately five minutes and rank order of the passengers from one to twelve, based on those who you feel are more deserving with one being more deserving and twelve being least deserving. Next, the entire group will come together and decide as a group the eight (8) passengers who will make the trip. PLEASE NOTE:  When you make your decision as a group EVERYONE must agree on the final eight passengers and come to a consensus. You are NOT allowed to vote or take a “majority rules” decision.

Original passengers list:

__  an accountant with a substance abuse problem

__  a militant African-American medical student

__  a 33 year old female Native American manager who does not speak English

__  the accountant’s pregnant wife

__  a famous novelist with a physical disability

__  a 21-year-old, female, Muslim international student

__  a Hispanic clergyman who is against homosexuality

__  a female movie star who was recently the victim of a sexual assault

__  a racist armed police officer who has been accused of using excessive force

__  a homosexual, male professional athlete

__  an Asian, orphaned 12-year-old boy

__  60-year-old Jewish university administrator

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Editor’s Note:  The superintendent’s written statement, taken from the Cuyahoga Falls School District’s web site, appears below:

 

With regard to the assignment recently issued by a teacher at Roberts Middle School, it is important to provide context.  One of the District’s goals this year is training in the areas of diversity awareness and social justice.  In this case, the intent of this assignment aligned with the goals of the District and was issued in four seventh- and eighth-grade classes. 

The intent of this lesson was to engage in an activity in diversity designed to promote tolerance and break down stereotypes.  The activity, which was drawn from the University of Houston’s Diversity Activities Resource Guide, was used as an ice-breaker during the first full week of school such that students can better understand each other and participate in group activities more successfully.

It is the responsibility of a 21st-century educator to deliver a holistic education to all of their students.  In Cuyahoga Falls, one of our objectives is to engage in conversations concerning diversity and social justice. 

Unfortunately, some parents were upset and concerned by this particular assignment and thought it was not age-appropriate.  The teacher and District offer their most sincere apologies for the offense caused by the content used in this assignment.  Future assignments on this topic will be more carefully selected.

 

Dr. Todd M. Nichols
Superintendent/CEO

 

 

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