‘A friend invites you to a gay bar:’ teacher fired for asking 12-year-olds inappropriate questions
SPRING HILL, Florida, April 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A survey given to Florida middle-schoolers asking inflammatory political questions about sexuality not only shocked students and parents but resulted in the teacher being fired.
Fox Chapel Middle School students had been directed to read the statements and respond giving their comfort level with various scenarios, The Blaze reported.
“A friend invites you to go to a gay bar,” one survey statement posed. Another was, “You go to the gay bar and a person of the same sex invites you to dance.”
Students as young as 12 years old were presented with 41 situations including, “You discover that the cute young man/woman that you are attracted to is actually a woman/man,” and, “You discover your teenage brother kissing a male friend.” Among the other statements were, “Your two next-door neighbors in your hall are lesbian/gay,” and “Your mother ‘comes out’ to you.”
While many of the situations in the survey focused on prompting student response to LGBT issues, others concerned race, ethnicity, and religion. They came from the book Exploring White Privilege written by St. Bonaventure philosophy professor Robert Amico.
The “How comfortable am I?” survey did not sit well with parents and students.
“How comfortable are you if you see a group of black men walking to you on a street,” parent Jennifer Block recounted for Tampa ABC affiliate WFTS. “That’s completely inappropriate. In no world whatsoever is that OK to question a child on.”
Her 12-year-old daughter said she found some survey statements “racist” and “sexist,” and thought the survey was “very inappropriate” and “completely intolerable.”
“There were children that were saying, ‘This is wrong,’ ‘Why are we doing this?’ ‘Does this have a reason?'” Tori Drews stated.
Drews explained how the teacher backpedaled somewhat on having distributed the survey after the students asked if they could share the survey with their parents.
“She was like, ‘No. Don’t show your mom. Don’t take that home. I’m taking it back up,'” Drews said.
The sixth-grader explained how she was given the survey as part of her “Leader in Me” class, where students learn how to accept differences in others.
CBS affiliate WTSP talked to another parent who said, “I was shocked. They’re too young for those kind of assignments.”
Karen Jordan, Hernando County School District public information officer, said in a statement regarding the survey, “In no way does that assignment meet the standards of appropriate instructional material.”
The teacher, still in a probationary period of employment, was let go from the west central Florida school as a result of the assignment.
Both news stations attempted unsuccessfully to reach the teacher for comment.
Drews said she thought the teacher should have been removed from the classroom temporarily and given more training, though she said, “I believe it was very wrong what she did, that she didn’t ask anybody before she gave it out.”
Her mother agreed with the school system’s decision to release the teacher.
“I do think that it was probably best,” Block said.