Let’s say your high school freshman son or daughter asks for your help with a particularly difficult biology homework assignment.
So you walk over, glance at the worksheet on DNA and blood type, and notice questions about a mother trying to determine the identity of her baby’s father.
Then question reads in part: “She had the state take a blood test of potential fathers. Based on the information in this table, why was the baby taken away by the state after the test?”
Possible answers? Cab driver, bartender, flight attendant, and guy at the club.
That was what Larry Basaj read on his daughter Audri’s homework page from Romeo High School — about 30 miles north of Detroit — and he said he flipped.
“What are they teaching?” he asked WDIV-TV in Detroit. “I couldn’t come up with the words. I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ It’s teaching them that it’s OK to not know who it is because you can have the state help you. And if they can’t help you, they are going to take your child away, and it’s not the way it is. I was beyond fired up last night.”
According to WWJ-TV in Detroit, the incomplete assignment was sent back with a note: “We teach our children not to sleep around.”
After talking to their daughter about the questions, Audri was concerned. “Now that I see what it really means, I think it like depicts women in a really uncomfortable light,” she told WWJ.
“The goal is that the students are understanding blood types and DNA and possibilities based on the makeup of the two parents,” explained Romeo Schools Superintendent Nancy Campbell to WWJ.
“But, again, this painted a picture, I think, that was not appropriate,” she told WWJ. “My first thought when I saw it was that it certainly been worded better.”
Campbell told WDIV the question came from a website — teachingbioformatics.com — which the teacher has used for getting problems with components and concepts students can understand. Campbell said the question will be revised.
Campbell said the teacher, who got the worksheet from a teaching website, has apologized.
“Teachers use all kinds of different resources that are available to them,” Campbell told WWJ. “[This incident] brings in awareness for all of our staff to, you know, be more thoughtful and reflective about the items they use when they put them on a homework assignment.”
According to Campbell, only one parent complained, WWJ reported.