Everyone close your books, and place your belongings under your desk chair. You are going to take a test that will reveal your sense of morality.
Here is scenario 1: “Sarah’s dog has four puppies. She can only find a home for two of them, so she kills the other two with a stone to the head.” How would you rate the morality of this decision on a scale of 1 to 7, where is least moral and 7 is most moral?
The above question and 35 others appeared on a test that an English teacher at Hilliard Bradley High School in Hilliard, Ohio, administered to her tenth-grade class. Parents of students who had been exposed to this educational “experiment” are now furious, and so is the district, which has placed the teacher, Sarah Gillam, on paid administrative leave until further notice.
The day after the test was given, administrators sent out a notice to parents, reading in part:
Last night, we were made aware of a classroom activity that should never have taken place. We absolutely share the outrage of our parents and community.
It is important to understand this was an isolated incident, and an activity of this nature would never be considered acceptable.
According to The Columbus Dispatch, some of the scenarios on the test were comparatively benign (e.g, “A boy slams the door in his father’s face because he won’t let him attend a late-night party”), but many crossed a line:
“A man kills a baby rabbit with a knife” on a live TV show; “A brother and a sister decide that they want to sleep with each other — just once, to see what it would be like,” but use a condom and the pill. …
Todd Sandberg, who has a son in the class and was the parent who initially sounded the alarm to other parents, is quoted asking the question “What does the teacher need to know that information for?” It’s an excellent question that, unfortunately, wasn’t on the test.
The incident is just the latest in a growing number surrounding school assignments that go far beyond the teaching of the three R’s. In August, LU reported on another assignment at another Ohio school, this one a middle school, where students received an handout titled “Whom to Leave Behind.”
The assignment asked students to choose eight of 12 persons to put on a space ship to take to a different planet because the Earth was doomed for destruction.
Descriptions of the possible passengers include a “militant African-American medical student,” a “homosexual, male professional athlete” and a “female movie star who was recently the victim of sexual assault.”
Evidently some teachers confuse their job description with a rhyming line of work that begins with the letter P.