Controversial math problems mentioning child sexual assault and prostitution were assigned at a junior high charter school in Arizona as recently as December, even though the math problems first came under scrutiny in 2017.
The math problems are based on Maya Angelou’s book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and asks students to fill in the blank: “Angelou was sexually abused by her mother’s _______ at age 8, which shaped her career choices and motivation for writing.”
The answer options include: a. (0, 2) boyfriend; b. (4, 6) brother; c. (-3, -1) father.
Another fill-in-the-blank problem reads, “Trying to support her son as a single mother, she worked as a pimp, prostitute and _______.”
The answer choices include: a. (-3, -2) Bookie; b. (4, 6) Drug Dealer c. (-3, -1) Night Club Dancer.
The same math problems sparked controversy in 2017 after they surfaced at a Pennsylvania high school, prompting the school superintendent to apologize.
However, just months ago at the Mesquite Junior High School in Gilbert, Arizona, an eighth grade teacher named Jennifer Qualls assigned her students the math problems. Qualls herself was not present the day students were given the assignment, but she had given the assignment to a substitute teacher to give to students.
The assignment upset a student, who cried in class and later told her mother, who then contacted the school’s principal, Daniel Johnson. Johnson wrote back in an email obtained by Breitbart News: “Thank you for sharing this situation with me. It will be addressed.”
Although Qualls later told the student the assignment would not count against her grade, it was not clear what other actions had been taken to address the situation.
Dawn Antestenis, the public information officer for Gilbert Public Schools, confirmed the incident to Breitbart News and said details of staff disciplinary action are not shared with parents. She said in a statement on Monday:
As soon as this was reported to Administrators at the school, in December 2021, it was immediately addressed with the parties involved. The assignment referenced is not part of the adopted Gilbert Public Schools curriculum or any approved supplemental materials, and has not been used since. Details of staff disciplinary action are not shared, as standard, with parents. We greatly appreciate feedback from our students and parents, and our goal is always to work together to resolve any issues reported.
The mother did not wish to identify herself, but she recently spoke to Kelly Cooper, an Arizona business owner and Marine veteran who is running to represent Arizona’s 4th congressional district, where some of the students reside.
“I’m a parent. I have two kids in public charter school,” Cooper said. “There’s no excuse for that kind of homework to be given out in a math class.”
“This teacher should be fired. That’s pretty simple, as far as I’m concerned. I think there needs to be better acknowledgment and recognition within the classroom on what’s actually being handed out, what assignments are being done.”
“We want to make sure that our kids are being taught, and taught properly, but it seems like the administrators are not following up with what the curriculum is,” he said. “How does something like this slip through without anybody seeing it?”
“We need good leaders back in government that will stand up for our children and stand up for America as President Trump did for the previous four years,” he said.
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