An unidentified teacher at Roberts Middle School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio gave out a controversial assignment recently. Now many people are criticizing both the teacher and school for allowing it.
The title of the assignment was: Whom to Leave Behind.
To do the assignment, students had to rank 12 different people based on who was most to least deserving to live. In the scenario, Earth is about to destruct, and a spaceship only has eight seats.
After ranking them, the students had to come together as a class and unanimously agree on which eight to save.
Here are the 12 people:
- An accountant with a substance abuse problem.
- A militant African-American medical student.
- A 33-year-old 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 sexual assault.
- A racist armed police officer accused of using excessive force.
- A homosexual male, professional athlete.
- An Asian, orphaned, 12-year-old boy.
- A 60-year-old Jewish university administrator.
Ohio 6th Ward City Councilman Adam Miller brought attention to it when he posted a photo of the assignment on Facebook.
Miller called the assignment an ‘inappropriate project for young kids’ as it implants ‘prejudicial thoughts in these young impressionable minds’.
He further said such things build a ‘culture of animosity, antagonism & hostility’.
Miller also revealed he talked to the teacher and relayed the instructor wanted to promote diversity. Going forward, however, he’s removing the assignment from his class.
Finally, he confirmed constituents reached out to him when the school did not respond to their concerns. That’s when he became involved.
Meant to promote tolerance?
The activity stems from the University of Houston’s Diversity Activities Resource Guide, and was given to four seventh- and eighth-grade classes. Students in these grades are typically between 12 and 14.
Dr. Todd M. Nichols, superintendent and CEO of Cuyahoga Falls City Schools released a statement on the school’s website.
‘One of the District’s goals this year is training in the areas of diversity awareness and social justice,’ he wrote, adding the assignment aligned with those goals. ‘The intent of this lesson was to engage in an activity in diversity designed to promote tolerance and break down stereotypes.’
The statement continued: ‘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.’
A spokesperson for the University of Houston released a statement to Yahoo Lifestyle.
‘While UH did not create this specific activity, we use it as a resource for college students in an effort to create awareness about cultural bias with the hope of sparking productive discussions and enlightening self-reflection,’ they said.
‘We encourage facilitators of this exercise to be trained in diversity and inclusion issues to appropriately handle difficult conversations that could arise.’