School Assignment Asks Students 'Whom to Leave Behind' Based on Religion and Sexual Orientation

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Roberts Middle School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. The Cuyahoga Falls School District is investigating a class assignment that asked students to choose to save people based on descriptors such as sexual orientation, religion and age. Google Maps

A school district in Ohio is investigating a class assignment where students were asked to choose who they would save, based on sexual orientation, religion, age and other descriptors, if the world came to an end.

An unidentified teacher at Roberts Middle School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, assigned students to choose eight out of 12 people to put on to a spaceship and transport to a different planet because the world was ending, Cleveland.com reported.

Parents found the assignment, titled "Whom to Leave Behind," to be inappropriate. Bernadette Hartman told WKYC-TV that her son had received the assignment in his eighth-grade social studies class and it made him uncomfortable. Hartman believed the assignment "divides" people against one another and "doesn't pull anybody together."

"What does her being Muslim have to do with it," Hartman said. "What does being female have to do with it."

Councilman Adam Miller posted the assignment to Facebook on Tuesday, saying he'd had a conversation with the teacher of the social studies class and that the teacher would remove that assignment from his other classes in the future.

"In my view, it clearly uses conjecture which is suggesting this fictitious behavior is somehow an accepted pattern. Additionally, it's implanting prejudicial thoughts in these young impressionable minds," wrote councilman Adam Miller. "This is NOT building a - "culture of caring" - this is building a culture of animosity, antagonism & hostility! Why can't kids be kids?"

Newsweek reached out to the Cuyahoga Falls School District for comment and was directed to the district's Facebook page, where it had released a statement on the matter. The district wrote that its goal this year was to train students in diversity awareness and social justice. The assignment was used as an icebreaker during the first week of school so that students "can better understand each other and participate in group activities more successfully."

"Unfortunately, some parents were upset and concerned by this particular assignment and thought it was not age-appropriate," the statement read. "The teacher and District offer their most sincere apologies for the offense caused by the content used in this assignment. Future assignments on this topic will be more carefully selected."

In a statement to Cleveland.com, Superintendent Todd Nichols said he planned to meet with the social studies teacher on Monday.

"We take the matter very seriously, we are investigating it and we expect it to be completed very early next week with a resolution," Nichols told the publication, adding he hadn't heard any reaction from the students in the classes in which the assignment was given.

A teacher from a charter school in Texas was placed on leave after parents complained about an assignment that asked students to list the "positive aspects" of slavery. The assignment, titled "The Life of Slaves: A Balanced View," was a worksheet given to students in an eighthth-grade American history class at Great Hearts Monte Vista in San Antonio.

The worksheet was divided into two columns for students to list the "negative aspects" and the "positive aspects" of living as a slave.

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Roberts Middle School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. The Cuyahoga Falls School District is investigating a class assignment that asked students to "save" people based on descriptors such as sexual orientation, religion and age. Google Maps

This story has been updated to include a statement from the Cuyahoga Falls School District.

School Assignment Asks Students 'Whom to Leave Behind' Based on Religion and Sexual Orientation | U.S.