|Back to March Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 170||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||MARCH 2000|
Examples of Outrageous Classroom Assignments|
Since my now 11th-grade daughter was in 5th grade, she has been subjected to some form of depressing death education in our public schools. I have been fighting with the school district over this issue all these years and deprogramming her every day when she comes home.
For a "Writing Across the Curriculum" assignment, the "band" teacher at the junior high instructed the students to pretend one of their parents was dead and to write his or her eulogy. I am pleased to say that several brave students refused to do the assignment.
One of my daughter's English teachers brought poems for the students to read and discuss in class. Some were written by his acquaintances and most dealt with death. His favorite was a poem written by a former student about suicide. My daughter had just lost her grandmother at the time and left the classroom quite upset.
In October 1999, she was assigned the William Cullen Bryant poem, "Thanatopsis" to analyze. Thanatology is the study or science of the experience of dying and bereavement.
When I saw her class notes I was beyond angry. Per the class discussion, she was to decide who the pallbearers would be at her funeral and describe how she would look in her shroud. I demanded a meeting with the school to arrange for an alternative assignment.
Last month, the high school brought in a "motivational" speaker. During a three-hour assembly, she talked about teens who have committed suicide, and read poems and stories about suicide and death.
C. Stribling, Fraser, Michigan