A middle-school teacher in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio gave his students an assignment that caught the attention and ire of a city councilman.
The assignment asked the students to choose “whom to leave behind” on a doomed Earth. The choices were based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and physical abilities.
City councilman Adam Miller posted a copy of the assignment on his Facebook page on Wednesday.
The assignment instructions read: “The twelve persons listed below have been selected as passengers on a space ship for a flight to another planet because tomorrow the planet Earth is doomed for destruction.
“Due to changes in space limitations, it has now been determined that only eight persons may go. Any eight qualify.”
The choices included a militant African-American medical student, a 33-year-old female Native American manager who does not speak English, a 21-year-old female Muslim international student, a Hispanic clergyman opposed to homosexuality, a racist cop and a gay professional athlete.
The assignment required the students to rank the order of the passengers “from one to twelve based on those who you feel are most deserving to make the trip with one being most deserving and twelve being least deserving.”
So they had to decide if the accountant with a substance abuse problem was more deserving to be spared then a famous novelist with a physical disability.
Was a a female movie star who had been sexually assaulted more deserving to live than a 12-year-old orphaned Asian boy or a 60-year-old Jewish university administrator?
“Inappropriate project for young kids,” Miller wrote on Facebook when he posted a photo of the assignment.
Whoever filled it out thought the militant, African-American medical student most deserving of a seat on the space ship. But their “you’re-out-of-luck” choice wasn’t indicated.
“In my view, it clearly uses conjecture which is suggesting this fictious behavior is somehow an accepted pattern.” Miller wrote. “Additionally, it’s implanting prejudicial thoughts in these young impressionable minds. This is NOT building a - “culture of caring” - this is building a culture of animosity, antagonism & hostility!”
Cleveland 19 TV station, which was provided a copy of the assignment, too, by a parent, said it was given to students at Roberts Middle School in Cuyahoga Falls.
Alternative weekly Cleveland Scene identified the students as sixth-graders.
“Sixth graders at Roberts Middle School in Cuyahoga Falls are starting off the new school-year with a bang, assigning children the responsibility of determining who deserves to survive the end of the world based on factors like race, religion, age, occupation and sexual orientation,” the Scene wrote.
The weekly called the assignment a “proverbial trash fire of racism, classism, homophobia, sexism, ageism, ableism and every other disgusting -ism you could imagine.”
On Thursday, the district’s superintendent, Todd Nichols, told Cleveland 19 that school officials “were just made aware of the situation and are investigating.”
Miller updated his original post after he spoke with the teacher involved and wrote that the teacher “will be removing this particular assignment from future lessons.”
“I certainly can appreciate the fact that he wants to promote diversity etc. It was a sincere conversation and I encouraged the continued discussions on this topic,” Miller wrote.