Teacher sacked for asking children if they are ‘comfortable’ around gays and Muslims
A teacher has been sacked in Florida for asking middle school children if they feel “comfortable” around black people, Muslims and gays.
The teacher, who was newly hired, handed out a homework assignment asking students to rate their comfort levels in various hypothetical situations.
The assignment, handed out to students at the Fox Chapel Middle School in Florida, asked students to rate the scenarios from “completely comfortable” to “not comfortable at all”.
One of the hypothetical situations was “a friend invites you to a gay bar”, and another was “a group of black men are walking towards you on the street”.
One of the questions asked if a child would be comfortable if a ‘friend invited them to a gay bar’
Another said: “The young man sitting next to you on the plane is Arab”.
Parents and children complained to the school, labelling the homework assignment “offensive” and “racist”.
WPTV reports that one student, Tori Drews, 12, said: “I thought it was very inappropriate. I thought some of them were racist. I thought some of them were sexist.”
Jennie Block, Drews’ mother, also commented, saying: “‘How comfortable are you if you see a group of black men walking to you on the street?’ That’s completely inappropriate. In no world, whatsoever, is that okay to question a child on.
According to Block the teacher tried to dissuade the class from sharing the assignment with their parents.
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She added: “Kids were asking if they could share it with their parents. She was like, ‘No. Don’t show your mom. Don’t take that home. I’m taking it back up.’”
Still in a probationary period, the teacher was sacked this week.
The assignment was apparently meant to make children aware of biases, and to be accepting of minority groups and other cultures.
A spokesman for the school district said: “In no way does that assignment meet the standards of appropriate instructional material.”
Preschool teachers in Australia were this week encouraged to intervene in gendered play, in order to promote equality.