8th Grade Homework Assignment Includes Drinking, One-Night Stands & Herpes

School students raising hands in classroomParents of middle school students at Myron L. Powell School in Cedarville, New Jersey, want to know why eighth graders are getting homework about drinking and herpes. It seems like a fair question to ask, considering moms and dads weren't given a heads-up about the assignment -- and that the class is language arts, not health.


Yeah ... I'm going to throw a flag on this one, because it's out there (five yard penalty, replay second down).

Even though the assignment follows the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, which the kids are reading in this language arts class, parents like Amy Loper don't think the homework is age-appropriate. In fact, she's quite peeved her 13-year-old son was assigned such a scenario, without as much as a "Hey, we're asking your kid what he thinks about one-night stands and herpes" notification.

It's only natural that a parent would side-eye this, considering many of us wouldn't dream of getting such homework in the eighth grade. Yes, times have definitely changed -- and kids are no longer climbing trees and keeping things PG with Spin the Bottle -- but my gracious, this might be a little much for most eighth-grade students.

Then again, maybe this will remind middle schoolers that Mom and Dad will likely find something out, and to rethink getting wasted and having a one-night stand, that possibly leads to a need for medical treatment. 

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Here's the assignment in question:

You had a really rotten day, but lucky for you your best friend is having an awesome party later. You go to the party and start drinking. You have a little too much to drink and start talking to this girl/guy you’ve never seen before. You head upstairs to get better acquainted despite several friends telling you that you don’t even know this person. You end up having sex with this person. The next day you really can’t remember everything that happened and rely on your best friend to fill you in. A week later you find out that you contracted herpes from your one night stand and that this is a disease you will have all your life and never know when an outbreak will occur.

Doesn't this homework assignment remind you of an episode of Gossip Girl, or Beverly Hills, 90210 (even Brenda and Brandon got caught underage drinking, so you can't tell me parents in this scenario wouldn't know. Plus, HERPES!)? Hell, Carrie Bradshaw might've found herself rethinking a tipsy hookup in Sex and the City, though I doubt Samantha Jones would object to her getting "better acquainted" with a stranger.

Sadly, the concept of a child trying a drink or sex isn't shocking.

Obviously kids are having sex at younger and younger ages, but honestly, I think the scenario this language arts teacher proposed is a wee bit ... extra, for a middle school student. Call me a prude or "not hip with the times" all you want, but I don't think many eighth graders would have the same freedoms as someone, say in high school, to do all of this. 

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The biggest misstep in this situation seems to be that parents weren't notified of the kinds of topics their middle school kids would have to discuss. Don't they still require permission slips to attend the sex ed portion of health? So why wouldn't something like this get the same treatment?



Image via Robert Kneschke/shutterstock

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