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Teacher Fired Over Homework That Asks Controversial Questions On Race, Sexuality

Teacher Fired Over Homework That Asks Controversial Questions On Race, Sexuality
1 year ago

A teacher at Fox Chapel Middle School in Hernando County, Florida, has been fired after handing out homework that asked students to rate how comfortable they were being "invited to a gay bar," and "sitting next to an Arab man on a plane."

The homework assignment, titled "How Comfortable Am I?"  included 41 questions that parents labelled inappropriate. Sixth grade students were asked to respond to the hypothetical situations on a scale of one to four – with one being "not comfortable at all" and four "completely comfortable."

Other questions on the assignment include:

"Your mother 'comes out' to you."
"Your new roommate is Palestinian and Muslim."
"A group of young Black men are walking towards you on the street."
"The woman sitting next to you on the plane weighs 250 lbs."
"Your math tutor is a 62 year old woman."

Jennifer Block's 12-year-old daughter was one of the students given the assignment. She told ABC Action News:

"'How comfy are you if you see a group of black men walking to you on the street?' That's completely inappropriate. In no world, whatsoever, is that okay to question a child on."

Tori Drews, one of the students that also received the paper, said that she was given it during her 7th period Leader In Me class, in which the students learn about accepting other people's differences. 

"I thought it was very inappropriate. I thought some of them were racist. I thought some of them were sexist. I thought it was completely intolerable." 
 "There were children that were saying this is wrong. Why are we doing this? Does this have a reason? She was going yeah this is kind of wrong...maybe I should take it back." 
 "Kids were asking if they could share it with their parents. She was like no. Don't show your mom. Don't take that home. I'm taking it back up."  
"I believe that it was very wrong what she did. That she didn't ask anybody before she gave it out, but I think that maybe she should have been put on a break and had like another training on something like that." 

District officials said that the teacher had joined the school in January, and was still under probation when she was fired for handing out the assignment. In a statement they said "in no way, does that assignment meet the standards of appropriate instructional material."

Do you think the assignment is appropriate for middle schoolers?