This School Assignment Included A Question About Sexual Assault

Now that kids are back at school after winter break, they're probably getting back into the grind of homeroom, hall monitors, and homework. But it also seems like things are a little off-topic. Blame it on vacation brain, but assignments are getting a little out of hand. Earlier this week, we told you about a Utah high school that instructed students to go on a date. Today, CBS Philly is reporting that a set of math problems included a word problem addressing sexual assault.

The math problem was assigned at Pennridge High School in Perkasie, PA, and read: “Angelou was sexually abused by her mother’s ___ at age 8, which shaped her career choices and motivation for writing.”
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By substituting y, fiddling with the distributive property, and solving for x, the students were supposed to figure out if Angelou's mother was assaulted by her boyfriend, brother, or father.

Understandably, parents were upset and reported the offensive assignment to the Pennridge School District. The PSD swiftly apologized, releasing a statement that clarified the origins of the math problem. It was "downloaded from a website that allows teachers around the world to share educational resources." The district assured parents that the problem was not part of the approved curriculum. As if this wasn’t already problematic, it seems like the problem is addressing Maya Angelou’s sexual assault.
While we're at it, take a look at the question below it. While it's not fully visible, the responses include "bookie," "drug dealer," and "night club dancer." Pencils ready, kids?
Correction: A previous version of this story misidentified Maya Angelou's mother as a survivor of sexual assault. We regret the error.


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