Texas elementary school parents question 'inappropriate' homework assignment
POSTED: Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 5:08pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - 9:07am
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — Many parents are scratching their heads over a 4th grade homework assignment handed out on Tuesday but not because they can't understand it.
Parents of a group of students at Pasodale Elementary School are angry with a teacher for sending their children home with what they call an "inappropriate reading assignment."
One parent says it was supposed to be an assignment done in class but when some of the kids didn't finish it in time, they took it home, and that's when their parents said they noticed something wasn't right.
Ursula Silverstein said her 10 year-old daughter's 4th grade teacher asked the class to read a series of paragraphs, and then answer questions about what each situation meant - an inference assignment.
Problem is, like several other parents with students in that class, Silverstein said parts of the assignment were inappropriate. She said the paragraph below describes a scenario where a husband cheats on his wife, and students were asked to make conclusions about what the situation was about.
Below is a transcript of one of the paragraphs and questions included in the assignment:
Ruby sat on the bed she shared with her husband holding a hairclip. There was something mysterious and powerful about the cheaply manufactured neon clip that she was fondling suspiciously. She didn't recognize the hairclip. It was too big to be their daughter's, and Ruby was sure that it wasn't hers. She hadn't had friends over in weeks but there was this hairclip, little and green with a few long black hair strands caught in it. Ruby ran her fingers through her own blonde hair. She had just been vacuuming when she noticed this small, bright green object under the bed. Now their life would never be the same. She would wait here until Mike returned home.
- Why is Ruby so affected by the hairclip?
- How has the hairclip affected Ruby's relationship?
"I think life situations like that should be taught at home, not at school," said Silverstein.
"Why would the teacher give them that type of assignment, you know? It could be something about nature or planets. But something about that, it's very inappropriate," said another parent, Nancy Desantiago.
The homework assignment spurred a debate on Facebook.
Some agreed that the topics weren't age-appropriate, but others argued kids these days are already exposed to adult situations.
Gro Francesco said, "..is this material appropriate? No, I don't think so but neither is letting them play violent video games, letting them get fat nor allowed (sic) them to dress like "thugs" and listen to gangster music."
Ruben Vaquez said "if an elementary aged child can deduce what this is talking about then infidelity has already made itself known in their home...just saying."
The Ysleta Independent School District released the following statement today:
"YISD administration is aware of an unacceptable assignment that was given to a 4th- grade class at Pasodale Elementary. We apologize to the students and the parents who received this assignment. Campus administration has addressed the issue with the teacher, and has taken decisive measures to assure that future assignments are aligned to the curriculum and are of the highest instructional caliber."
Teachers at Pasodale Elementary do have to submit lesson plans for approval, but a district spokesperson said not all assignments are reviewed.