Fourth Graders' Homework Assignment Teaches Them About Infidelity

Homework assignementSo, this happened. A class of fourth graders in El Paso, Texas, received a rather questionable homework assignment. In an exercise of reading comprehension, the students were asked to read about a certain scenario and then give their opinion on what went down.

Now, there are so many different ways an educator could present a story to students -- like a tale of kids playing in a park or the Easter Bunny finding a child's home. But no, this particular teacher used the scenario of a mother finding a hairclip that was not hers in her marital bed, leading to the assumption that her husband had cheated on her. Yes, that! The story presented to the kids as homework read like this:


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.

The teacher then asked the students to answer the following questions:

"Why is Ruby so affected by the hairclip?" and "How has the hairclip affected Ruby's relationship?"

What the?!?! Fourth graders should not be asked to analyze a story about infidelity in any scenario. There is no reason for it. I just don't get why the teacher would use THIS as an example; there are a zillion other tales they could have presented. A story about cheating spouses for fourth graders is pushing them into an adult realm when there is no reason to do so.

Now, I'll admit I'm one of those who doesn't actually always read my kid's homework. I trust that the work she is given is appropriate.

But some parents of these students in El Paso did read the assignment, and thank goodness the school was alerted. Who knows what the teacher could have assigned next!

It turns out teachers at Pasodale Elementary had to submit lesson plans to administration, but they didn't have to submit actual assignments -- which is pretty common. If you're one of those parents who doesn't always read their child's homework, let this be a lesson to you! Who knows what your kids' teachers are assigning?

What's the strangest question your kids have ever gotten on a homework assignment?

Image via Sharoyn Marrow/Flickr

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