"Pro: Mrs. Johnson lectured clearly and concisely.
Con: It was mostly about how I have 'the shifty eyes of a Jewess.'"
School assignments tend to be on the dull side, which is why 78 percent of high school is devoted to drawing large dinosaurs drag-racing even larger dinosaurs with buzzsaws for feet, all the while flipping the bird at Dracula, whose head is a dank-ass pot leaf.
But a few dedicated teachers have found a way to turn boring old school into an experience their students will remember for the rest of their lives, or at least until they pass out from binge-drinking after a therapy session.
Countless students across America have read The Diary Of Anne Frank as part of a school assignment to learn about the horrors of the Holocaust, but only one Southern California school forced their students to consider whether Frank was a fictional character invented by Zionists while on a lunch break at their bank that secretly controls the world's economy.
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Students at a middle school in Rialto Unified, which we assure you is a school district and not a Latin American soccer club, were required by Common Core standards to have an assignment that taught them critical-thinking skills. Rather than have their eighth-graders debate a contentious contemporary issue like gun rights, public healthcare, or Xbox One vs. PS4, a group of teachers got together and decided the students needed to write about whether the Holocaust was "merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth." The report didn't explain their exact reasoning, possibly because it's impossible to write the sound of a thousand empty skulls screaming spider language into the endless void.
It's unclear whether controversy arose because students complained about the assignment, or if the aliens controlling their teachers' minds suddenly abandoned their world-domination project and retreated to the stellarverse. Whatever the case, the school apologized, calling the assignment "misguided," which will be a useful lesson for their English Composition classes about the importance of passive language in making understatements. The teachers also made a mandatory visit to the Museum Of Tolerance, while their students made a nonrequired but very enjoyable trip to RateMyTeacher.com.
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The appropriate timing and methodology of teaching sex ed in public schools has been debated for some time, with some parents insisting that it shouldn't be taught at all. That feeling is at least partially inspired by teachers such as the one in Encinal High School in Alameda, California, who sent his students home to search their parents' belongings for condoms, sex toys, cucumbers stored in suspicious locations, etc., as part of an extra credit assignment. The students then had to take a selfie with any sex toy they discovered, because their teacher is a fucking maniac.
Two mothers objected to the assignment, because no shit, but amazingly the school initially dismissed the complaints, insisting the assignment was nothing more than a bad joke, because for some reason telling your students to go on a scavenger hunt for your folks' dildos is OK as long as you're joking. Furthermore, one student actually completed the assignment, and the triumphant photo was presented to the rest of the class, because this is a generation of children oblivious to the once-inescapable tyranny of "yo mama" jokes.
The school was forced to concede that the "assignment" was, at best, wildly inappropriate, and promised to launch an investigation. However, they've since remained "tight-lipped," a choice of phrasing that CBS News absolutely arrived at on purpose. The offending teacher was eventually suspended, and did we mention he was a freaking math teacher?
No matter how much you love reading and writing, grammar exercises put children to sleep faster than Morgan Freeman reading a phone book. So we don't blame an Oklahoma City middle school teacher for trying to spice up their English worksheets. But rather than have the children read a fun short story about Iron Man or something, they decided to have their students correct all the grammatical errors in a story about a student violently beating a teacher before slitting her throat and dumping her body in the woods.
One student, understandably upset with their grammar lesson suddenly becoming an episode of True Detective, earned exemption from future "uncomfortable worksheets." These presumably included correcting the grammar of the Zodiac Killer's letters and spotting the run-on sentences in Industrial Society And Its Future.
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As far as we know, the teacher didn't receive any punishment and, in their defense, the text told the story of a real crime (although why any teacher would want to issue weekend-ruining homework that reminded their students that teenagers occasionally snap and brutally murder their teachers is unclear). Even more unclear is the thought process of a Maryland middle school teacher who required her English classes to write a description of how they would kill her.
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The assignments had to contain three gerunds, three infinitives, three participles, and three sentences that could later be quoted for dramatic effect at a criminal trial. What was supposed to be, according to the teacher, "an engaging way to review some grammar concepts" instead resulted in a bevy of complaints from parents, although some eager/creepy students completed the assignment before it was canceled. In fairness, identifying those students might have been her goal all along.
Patriot High School in Jurupa Valley, California, is proud of their recycling program. It funds field trips and allows them to purchase food for their cooking classes. Part of this program involves rooting through the trash to find bottles that were "mistakenly" thrown away instead of placed in the recycling bin, but, because that job is a little less than glamorous, the Patriot High School administration heroically forced only their special education students to do it. That's right -- this high school made their special needs children (and only their special needs children) dig through garbage.
The school argued that it was part of a "functional skills" program where students learn about recycling and finance before taking a trip to the grocery store. We're not education experts, but perhaps a greater emphasis could have been placed on a classroom discussion about the merits of recycling. Maybe every child could have been made to pick through the garbage together, like an especially patriotic team-building exercise. Or maybe the teachers could have allowed themselves five seconds to experience an intelligent thought and could have not sent their special needs students dumpster diving.
Amazingly, the rich and compelling "recycling and finance skills" argument didn't stop the school from suspending the practice in order to "review the current process and consider changes." In the meantime, special education students continued to learn other valuable life skills, such as how to boil your own shoe leather and how to stab your nemesis to death in a box car.
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Letter-writing is a great skill to teach students, because it emphasizes thoughtful composition and the value of receiving a personal handwritten note as opposed to a sterile email. With that in mind, a New Jersey third-grade teacher assigned her students to write "get well" cards to a man named Mumia Abu-Jamal, who had recently fallen ill. Who is Mumia, you may be asking? An ill parent? A local senior citizen? Well, at 61 he's certainly getting up there, but Mumia is a former member of the Black Panthers currently serving life in prison for murdering a police officer.
The teacher presumably didn't tell her students that, although she did tweet, "My 3rd graders wrote to Mumia to lift up his spirits as he is ill. #freemumia." In fairness, Mumia Abu-Jamal's trial and conviction remains controversial, but enlisting your third-grade class to write "get well" cards to a man on Death Row is not really the way to teach children about the endless complexities of the American justice system.
Regardless, the letters seem to have done their job, as Mumia was released from the hospital in good health. The teacher was fired from her teaching job, though, so she could presumably use a Hallmark card of some sort.
To any teenager who isn't looking to score a free high at the risk of a severe grounding and possible ambulance ride, the contents of their parents' prescription bottles should be considered private. In point of fact, your medical history is private, so it's unclear why a Utah health teacher thought ordering her junior high students to go home and write an inventory of the family medicine cabinet would A) go over well and B) provide any educational benefit.
One understandably displeased parent posted a complaint on Facebook and sent a note to the school, which was quick to decry the assignment and agree that it had no place in their curriculum. Other parents took to social media to claim that the assignment was part of a government conspiracy to collect private data about its citizens, although why the government wouldn't just download your medical records or why they would give two shits about your Ambien prescription was not explained.
In their defense, the assignment is thoroughly baffling. The obvious explanation is that the teacher is trying to determine which of his students' houses to burglarize in a depressing Home Alone-inspired caper.
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If you knocked your brother down, would you urinate in his mouth? That's the creative writing question posed by a New Hampshire high school English teacher, who wanted to shower her students with edgy topics that would make provocative thinking the golden standard in their education. "You're in a serious class, for real whiz kids," she presumably told her students.
Now that the applause has died down, we'd love to provide more context for the assignment in question, but there just isn't any. It wasn't related to any book the students were studying. It wasn't part of a larger allegorical theme about the love-hate relationship many people have with their family. They hadn't teamed up with the sex-toy teacher from above to write Flowers In The Attic fan fiction. It seems like the only element of creative education the teacher hoped to deliver with this creative writing assignment was to see how emphatically her students could say no.
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The teacher had an otherwise spotless track record, leaving students and faculty alike equally baffled as to why she suddenly decided to ask her students about pissing in their siblings' faces. The school superintendent commented, "While on the one hand, I appreciate her interest in trying to get kids to write, there are other topics and there are more appropriate prompts that could create that same kind of interest." We have no idea what interest he could be referring to other than the "peeing on your brother or sister" interest, so we are therefore equally confounded by what a more appropriate prompt for that scenario would look like. Maybe "if your brother or sister's head were engulfed in flames, would you drown the smoking hellfire with a frothy stream of your own waste?"
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The teacher's assignments are now being monitored, with officials hoping that "she continues to motivate her students in more appropriate ways." We're assuming her next thought-provoking prompt will read something like: "You're trapped in a room with no visible exit and only a small sliver of light streaming in from an unknown source. Would you take a sudden, violent shit all over your father's chest?"
You can read more from Mark, including all about the time he taught children to rob banks, at his website.