SPANISH FORK, Utah (LifeSiteNews) — A Utah middle school faces backlash after a teacher awarded extra credit to students for eating grasshoppers as part of an essay assignment arguing that people should eat bugs in an effort to fight climate change.
Kim Cutler, a teacher at Spring Canyon Middle School, assigned sixth grade English students an essay titled “Why Americans Should Be Eating Bugs?” According to the parameters of the assignment, students were supposed to write an essay arguing that people should eat bugs rather than cows as their primary source of protein as cows produce methane that damages the ozone layer. Students were not allowed to disagree with the assignment’s argument.
In addition to the essay, Cutler gave students the opportunity to receive extra credit by eating grasshoppers that the school district, Nebo School District, bought from a commercial website.
A student in the class, Saige Wright, confronted Cutler in a video provided to FOX News. When Wright asked Cutler why students could not argue against the essay’s premise, Cutler responded by saying, “Because we don’t have any evidence for it.”
“It’s kind of weird that I gave you a topic where there is only one right answer,” Cutler continued. “We don’t want to eat bugs and it’s gross. But should we be eating bugs? Yeah, because we’re killing the world by raising cows and animals. So we need to, not get rid of cows, but like, try to balance our diet so that not so much of our land is being used to raise cows, cause it’s killing the Ozone layer.”
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When Wright further pressed Cutler, the teacher responded saying, “You don’t have any evidence to support it. There’s only one right answer to this essay. And it’s that Americans should be eating bugs. Everyone in the world is eating them, it’s healthy for the environment and there’s just, there’s only one right answer.”
Outraged by the assignment, Wright’s mother Amanda had a meeting with school administrators to discuss the assignment, including school principal Alison Hansen. In a recording of the meeting, also handed to FOX News, Wright told Hansen that the assignment made her daughter uncomfortable. She also told Hansen that her daughter was not allowed to argue against the essay’s premise.
Hansen responded to Wright by stating that the purpose of the assignment was “about finding facts to support” a claim.
In a separate recording, Cutler apologized for the assignment, saying, “I am not aware of the agenda part… I am sorry for that… it wasn’t intending to harm anyone.” Cutler also apologized for not allowing students to give a second opinion for the assignment. Cutler further stated that the notion of eating bugs to protect the climate appeared in a teacher training for the district.
Wright and her daughter appeared on Jesse Watters’ FOX program Thursday to discuss the incident. She previously told the outlet that she believes the students were being “indoctrinated” into a “dark climate change religion.”
According to Saige, most of the students ate the bugs for the extra credit. She also said it was “awkward to go back to school after we talked about this topic.” Amanda, meanwhile, is looking to speak to the school district about the assignment.
“I already went to the school and had a meeting with the principal and six other staff and nothing was done. So I am planning on taking this to the district,” she told Watters. “I am definitely upset. This is an uncomfortable topic that they’re pushing this agenda on our children, and I’m definitely going to be taking this way up the ladder further.”
“I honestly don’t know what the protocol is for this. I’m not sure what – if the teacher is going to get any heat in this,” Wright continued.
“I’m more concerned about the district and where this curriculum came from and also the principal of the school being very condescending in emails that were sent by concerned parents… Her response was just absolutely rude and trying to make it look like my daughter had these videos out of context which I don’t appreciate.”
Speaking to the Daily Mail, a representative of the school confirmed the assignment’s contents and defended Cutler. “It is our understanding that this assignment is part of many essays where students will explore different sides of issues, find and sort through evidence, and cite it in their own essays, which is a significant part of the writing core in the Utah State Standards,” she said.
“Students explore the differences between opinions and facts while they both read examples of and write their own persuasive/argumentative essays – such as Why America Should Be Eating Bugs?” the rep continued.
In a statement to Fox News, the school district said, “On the questions about extra credit: Yes, the teacher said sure you can have bonus points, almost as an afterthought. There are multiple opportunities for extra credit or bonus points in this class.”
“[W]hen the teacher realized there was concern, the student was offered another topic of the student’s choice. Remember this particular assignment is about finding facts versus opinions to support writing an argumentative essay,” the spokesperson continued. “Our district, schools, and teachers do encourage parents and students to come to us with their concerns. We want to continue to be partners in the education of children.”
This is not the first time a school offered students bugs to eat for the sake of climate change. As of last October, over 1,000 schools in Australia started offering corn chips laced with insect protein. As the effects of eating bugs as a protein source has yet to be studied, the move remains experimental.
Eating bugs has also been encouraged by the World Economic Forum (WEF), with the organization arguing that “we need to give insects the role they deserve in our food systems.”
Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who is considered the largest private owner of farmland in the United States and in 2019 invested $100,000 into an insect-farming start-up, last year stated that “all rich countries should move to 100% synthetic beef.”
Likewise, George Monbiot, a British writer and environmental activist, told Irish state-funded media outlet RTE in July that “we need to switch toward other sources of food,” arguing that “eating meat and milk and eggs is an indulgence we cannot afford.”
Last summer, LifeSiteNews reported that Canadian cricket producer Entomo Farms had already begun selling its bug-based options for human consumption under the label “Actually Foods.”
An August Business Insider video highlighting the work done at Entomo Farms noted that the inspiration behind cricket farming has to do with environmental “sustainability” and efforts to contend with alleged overpopulation.
“A lot of manufacturers and entrepreneurs were looking for safer, more sustainable protein sources to add to their product,” Lauren Keegan, vice president of sales and marketing at Left Coast Naturals and former CEO and adviser at Entomo Farms, told Business Insider.
“For us, it’s been quite a boon to our business as a result,” she said.