With the crusade to add gender-neutral pronouns to English underway, it is understandable that the mother of an 11-year-old might get upset over her son’s grammar homework. But what raised the hackles of a mom in Kent, England, was not the pronouns being taught but the manner in which they were being taught.
The worksheet called upon the students to fill in the blanks in sample sentences with the correct case of the first-person singular pronoun. But it was the seventh sentence down that prompted young Harry Garrod to show the worksheet to his mother, Alex. The sentence read:
“Hand [BLANK] the money before [BLANK] put a bullet through your head.”
From the Telegraph:
Speaking to the Kent Messenger newspaper, Ms Garrod said: “He was sitting at the table doing his work when he said, ‘Oh my God, look at this’.
“I was shocked. I thought, ‘Am I reading this correctly?’
“It put him off the rest of the paper because all he could talk about was the bullet question.
“There’s thousands of more appropriate sentences they could have used for the test.”
It gets worse. It wasn’t just some hare-brained student teacher who mindlessly penned this sentence. According to the school’s headmistress, Sarah Hunt:
The homework exercise was taken from a Times Educational Supplement site providing teaching resources, which is normally a very reliable facility used by thousands of teachers across the country every day.
Unfortunately this particular piece of work was not checked thoroughly before being sent home with the children, and we are sorry that this has caused concern with the family.
Hunt went on to add that the school encourages parents with concerns to come in and chat with the teacher or the administration and said she is “disappointed that the parents did not do so in this case.” The statement makes it sound as though she is more concerned about the negative press than with the welfare of the children entrusted to her.
A spokesman for the publisher said: “The test sheet in question was one of many resources posted by our community of users. It has been removed from our website and we apologise for any offence it may have caused.”
Lest you think such ineptitude can’t occur on this side of the pond, a similar assignments was given last last year to 8th-graders at a school in Oklahoma City that not only contained gratuitous violence but recalled the grisly details of an actual case in which a teacher had been raped and murdered.
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