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4th Graders Assigned "Inappropriate" Homework on Infidelity and Death

Parents in El Paso, Texas were outraged over an “inappropriate” homework assignment given to fourth graders at Pasodale Elementary School.


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Students were asked to read passages about a wife discovering her husband cheated and a mother finding out her military son was killed. They then had to answer questions about the adult-themed topics.

Read some of the assignment below:

Valerie opened up the letter from the military department. She felt the pit of her stomach drop to the bottom of the earth before she even opened it. She knew it was news about John. As she read the first line, she thought of all of the lunches she had packed him and all the nights she tucked him in his bed and warded off the nighttime monsters. The man carrying the flag put his hand on her shoulder. She thought of the day that John signed up for the military. Her tears wet the letter. She stopped reading after the first line.

What does the letter say?

What is Valerie's relationship to John?

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.

Why is Ruby so affected by the hairclip?

How has the hairclip affected Ruby's relationship?

Parents became aware of the in-class assignment after some kids didn’t finish it in time and brought it home. The school has since apologized and promised to investigate. 

Today on Your World, parenting expert Dr. Deb Gilboa said she was “shocked” by the material.

She said, “This teacher either didn’t read the assignment before handing it out, or had not enough life experience to realize that there’s no correct answer to these questions.”

Last year in Arizona, FoxNews.com reported that students at Playa Del Rey Elementary School were asked to read the same passages. In that instance, the teacher hadn't read the assignment and immediately apologized.

Dr. Gilboa noted that kids already see messages they’re not old enough to comprehend, but parents shouldn’t have to worry about that coming from a school.

She went on to say that it's important for parents to talk to their kids about tough topics like body privacy, relationships and responsibility.

But, Dr. Gilboa continued, “This is not something to give to kids in elementary school because those are kids for whom the stability of their home relationships is still a given. Asking them to question those [relationships] at this age doesn’t make them more resilient, it actually can undermine their security and stability.”


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