If you're the parent of a student, you're used to you your kids coming home and asking for help with their assignments. But what if your child's homework included bizarre questions like these?
Question: What do you call a married man's girlfriend?
Question: What do you call the much younger boyfriend of an older woman?
Answer: Boy toy
A "Family Quiz" worksheet was assigned to students at Carter G. Woodson Middle School in Hopewell, Virginia, and these were some of the questions on the worksheet. Parents weren't pleased.
"I couldn't believe that an educator would be giving something like that an 11-year-old," Tara Sample, a parent of one of the students told WTVR. "No one in the schools' system needs to be teaching my daughter what a mistress is, or a trophy wife, or boy toy. It's inappropriate for a school. Period."
The questions on the worksheet started out innocently enough. Things like, "What do you call the father of your father?" (the answer for this one was "grandpa") and "What do you call the daughter of your sister?" ("niece") were asked of the kids. But from there, the assignment took a strange turn — and parents did not appreciate it. "What do you call it when a married person has a relationship with someone else?" ("affair") was another item on the list, and even, "What do you call the much younger and beautiful wife of an older, wealthy man?" ("trophy wife") made the cut. Seriously?
The assignment was given in a Family and Consumer Science Class, and many have wondered how it was approved by the school district. Hopewell Schools Superintendent Dr. Melody Hackeny responded to the outrage in a statement: "This content was not a part of the current and approved curriculum for this course, nor was it in any way an appropriate learning tool for middle school-aged children. This assignment was also not included or referenced in the teacher's weekly lesson plans that are reviewed and approved in advance of instruction."
As WTVR reported, the worksheet is found on a website that gives teachers of English as a second language a forum to post their assignments for others to use. PhilipR, who says he is an English teacher working in Thailand and the creator of the document, posted the quiz in December 2011. At the time he uploaded the worksheet, he said it was "suitable for most students. There is a mix of easy and more difficult questions." He also added: "...use common sense and edit or change the questions that could be inappropriate for younger learners (or in your culture)."
Some commentators enjoyed the worksheet. Puszek5 wrote, "This is a unique family quiz that can make your students become familiar with family vocabulary in a very attractive and funny way." But others didn't think it was funny at all. "...Why in the world would I want to teach my students about cheating and lovers and boy toys?" writes Tommizner. "This page is rubbish and will not be used by me. There is enough negativity in this world and even though I teach adults, I refuse to teach them this kind of nonsense!"
As for the incident at Hopewell schools, Hackney says they're putting rules in place to ensure this doesn't happen again. "Additional controls and school board office supports have been put in place," Hackney said. "At this point, this matter has become a personnel issue, and no further comment is appropriate."
What do you think?