A Florida teacher has been fired after asking middle school children if they feel “comfortable” around black, Muslim and gay people.
The newly hired teacher asked Fox Chapel Middle School students to rate how comfortable they would be around such people in several hypothetical scenarios.
The homework assignment asked these students to provide ratings from “completely comfortable” to “not comfortable at all”. Students were asked to rate, for example, how comfortable they would feel if “a friend invites you to a gay bar”.
Parents and students alike complained to the school, calling the assignment “offensive” and “racist”.
One student’s mother, Jennie Block, told WPTV that the teacher in question tried to discourage students from sharing the assignment with their parents.
“Kids were asking if they could share it with their parents. She was like, ‘No. Don’t show your mom. Don’t take that home. I’m taking it back up.’”
The new hire, who was still on probation, was fired at the beginning of the month.
Reports claim that the assignment had good intentions, with the intent being to expose biases and to encourage students to be accepting of other cultures and minority groups.
However, a spokesperson for the school district has made their position clear: “In no way does that assignment meet the standards of appropriate instructional material.”