Parents in El Paso, Texas, want answers after fourth-grade students at Pasodale Elementary School were reportedly given an adult-themed assignment on topics like infidelity and a mother losing her son to war.
The “inappropriate reading assignment,” obtained by KTSM-TV, asks students to draw inferences based on the information provided.
The news station provides a transcript of the questions included in the assignment:
- Ruby sat on the bed she shared with her husband holding a hairclip. There was something mysterious and powerful about the cheaply manufactured neon clip that she was fondling suspiciously. She didn't recognize the hairclip. It was too big to be their daughter's, and Ruby was sure that it wasn't hers. She hadn't had friends over in weeks but there was this hairclip, little and green with a few long black hair strands caught in it. Ruby ran her fingers through her own blonde hair. She had just been vacuuming when she noticed this small, bright green object under the bed. Now their life would never be the same. She would wait here until Mike returned home.
1. Why is Ruby so affected by the hairclip?
2. How has the hairclip affected Ruby's relationship?
- "Tommy!" Mom called out as she walked in the front door. "Tommy," she continued shouting, "I sure could use some help with these groceries. There was still no reply. Mom walked into the kitchen to put the grocery bags down on the counter when she noticed shattered glass from the picture window all over the living room floor and a baseball not far from there. "I'm going to kill you, Tommy!" Mom yelled to herself as she realized that Tommy's shoes were gone.
1. What happened to the window?
2. Why did Tommy leave?
- Valerie opened up the letter from the military department. She felt the pit of her stomach drop to the bottom of the earth before she even opened it. She knew it was news about John. As she read the first line, she thought of all of the lunches she had packed him and all the nights she tucked him in his bed and warded off the nighttime monsters. The man carrying the flag put his hand on her shoulder. She thought of the day that John signed up for the military. Her tears wet the letter. She stopped reading after the first line.
1. What does the letter say?
2. What is Valerie's relationship to John?
Ursula Silverstein, an upset parent of a 10-year-old daughter, said these types of “life situations” should be “taught at home, not at school.”
"Why would the teacher give them that type of assignment, you know? It could be something about nature or planets. But something about that, it's very inappropriate," another parent told KTSM-TV.
However, some people seemingly downplayed the inappropriateness of the assignment on Facebook.
The Ysleta Independent School District released a statement on Thursday, calling the assignment “unacceptable” and apologizing to parents.
"YISD administration is aware of an unacceptable assignment that was given to a 4th- grade class at Pasodale Elementary. We apologize to the students and the parents who received this assignment,” the statement said. “Campus administration has addressed the issue with the teacher, and has taken decisive measures to assure that future assignments are aligned to the curriculum and are of the highest instructional caliber."
The assignment may look familiar to some readers of TheBlaze as a similar assignment was reportedly given to fourth-graders at Playa Del Ray Elementary School in Arizona.
“A 4th grade student at the Playa Del Rey Elementary School in Arizona said she was ‘a little shocked’ when she opened up her homework assignment last week,” TheBlaze reported. “Not quite the reading material the 10-year-old was probably used to, the worksheet asked her to explain what was happening in a situation where a woman finds another woman’s hair clip under the bed.”
That was the only scenario described by the parent in that instance.
A school representative told TheBlaze at the time that the teacher responsible “downloaded a worksheet.” While it’s not entirely certain the worksheets are the same, it could indicate that the adult-themed worksheet is more widely-used than first thought.