In teaching, it's important for teachers to be innovative and continue to think of new ways to discuss old topics, but one teacher took this concept much too far.
Concerned parents in Texas are seeking appropriate action after a teacher, who remains unidentified, sent their students home with insensitive homework questions.
At Klein Collins High School near Houston, Texas, an estimated ninety students were sent home last Friday with an inappropriate homework assignment.
The homework assignment came from their biology class, during a unit on DNA. But instead of discussing family genetics or blood types, the teacher instead included a practice question about rape.
The question on the homework assignment read:
"Suzy was assaulted in an alley and is a victim of rape. The police collected a sample of sperm that was left at the crime scene and now have 3 suspects in custody. Which of the suspects raped Suzy?"
The question is then followed by a graph, which shows the DNA pattern of the felon in the first column, and the DNA patterns of the three suspects in the next three columns. The students are meant to match up the suspect's pattern with the felon's pattern, which should be easy enough, but the problem is the nature of the original question.
Multiple concerned parents came forward after discovering from their troubled students the nature of their homework assignment.
Cookie VanHaven, a parent of one of the students, said:
"It's upsetting and I know girls this age, just the thought… they know that rape is forced non-consensual sex and that upsets them. That's why I can't fathom a teacher putting that on a test."
Another parent, Dana Duplantier, asked:
"Wouldn't [the teacher] have to get that approved by the school board or teachers or something to put that in there?"
The school district has refused to release the name of the teacher who handed out this assignment, and they also have not released information about any corrective action they may take for the teacher's use of the unapproved curriculum.
You can see the full news video here:
Since the news has gone public, many have shared their distaste for the inclusion of the question.
@KPRC2 Wait what??? This question is absolutely ridiculous 😒— Ann A. (@Ann A.) 1578977061.0
@KPRC2 How we know crime scene shows are way to popular.— Ben (@Ben) 1578977068.0
@KPRC2 Are you kidding me???— Angie Thomas (@Angie Thomas) 1579028192.0
@KPRC2 That is inexcusable— Ted Post (@Ted Post) 1578998822.0
@KPRC2 Should be an “adoption” premise question rather rape. Poor judgment and no empathy.— Chris (@Chris) 1579004315.0
It remains unclear if the teacher will actually be reprimanded, or how, for using the question over other options.
But lots of parents will now need to have important conversations with their students about consensual sex, if they haven't already in the past.
It's important for teachers to remain sensitive to how these subjects, though important to know about, could impact their students emotionally if confronted by the question out of nowhere.