Fifth-graders at a Long Island, New York, middle school got an assignment Monday — the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — that led to the teacher's removal from the classroom.
What are the details?
The assignment from the health teacher at Howard B. Matlin Middle School in the Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District asked students to choose people to accompany them into a fallout shelter in the event of a nuclear attack on Long Island, WNYW-TV reported.
The station said students were asked to choose six people from the following list:
- A 16-year-old pregnant girl.
- A police officer with multiple charges of brutality pending against him, he has his gun.
- A 38-year-old retired prostitute.
- A 75-year-old priest.
- A 35-year-old sterile female doctor.
- A husband and wife. They refuse to be separated. He is a lawyer. She is an alcoholic.
- A 31-year-old homosexual architect.
- A 50-year-old musician, previously addicted to cocaine.
- A 28-year-old drifter with no apparent skills.
The school's principal said in a Tuesday letter to students' families that a full investigation had commenced in regard to the "deeply inappropriate assignment," WABC-TV reported, adding that a substitute teacher was to take over until the investigation is complete.
"Our school, and our district as a whole, do not approve nor support assignments that are age-inappropriate, out of alignment with the curriculum, and fall outside of New York State standards," Principal Joseph Coladonato said in a statement, according to WABC. "This assignment violated all of these criteria, and has no place in our classrooms. We condemn this type of material in the strongest possible terms."
WNBC-TV reported that the teacher in question didn't return the station's requests for comment and that the teachers union declined to comment.
How have folks been reacting?
Retired New York City schoolteachers Sally Pollack and her husband told WNBC-TV they don't condone the assignment but added that the teacher deserves a second chance.
"I don’t think this is an appropriate topic for fifth-graders to be doing. Maybe a college class would be better," Pollack told the station. "We are both retired teachers so we certainly wouldn’t want somebody to get fired over making a poor decision one time ... the principal was under a lot of pressure, and he yielded to the pressure."
Teacher's ‘fall-out shelter' homework to 5th graders leads to her removal | NBC New Yorkyoutu.be
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