When Parents Saw Their Kids' Math Homework, They Were Understandably Shocked
In Perkasie, Pennsylvania, parents are confused and outraged about a recent high school math assignment that combines algebra with the sexual assault of an eight-year-old girl.
The girl in question is Maya Angelou, an American poet, author, civil rights activist, and Medal of Freedom recipient. Angelou was sexually assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend as a young girl, a fact that she writes about extensively in her acclaimed autobiography “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.” Then, her uncles murdered her rapist.
Angelou is someone that high school students should definitely learn about. However, a story like hers deserves to be told in a certain tone and setting. No doubt some students, who’ve perhaps lived through similar circumstances, will find it upsetting. That’s what makes this homework assignment by Pennridge High School so out of line.
With absolutely no context or reasoning, students at Pennridge High School were asked to answer a question about the sexual assault of Maya Angelou on a math assignment.
— Pennridge Reform (@PennridgeReform) January 12, 2017
And if that’s not bad enough, the next question also contains out-of-context adult content. These biographical facts have nothing to do with algebra, but even worse, they’re presented in a casual, flippant way.
After numerous complaints from parents and community members, the school issued an “apology.” Rather than taking responsibility, however, they shifted the blame to an online resource center.
— DMKANDOIT (@DMKANDOIT) January 13, 2017
Superintendent Dr. Jacqueline A. Rattigan wrote:
Response to inquiry
We have received a number of complaints from parents and members of the community regarding a recent high school math homework assignment which contained adult content without proper context. The homework worksheet in question was downloaded from a website that allows teachers around the world to share educational resources. It is not part of our approved curriculum.
We apologize to anyone who was offended by the content of the assignment and have taken steps to avoid such occurrences in the future.