Controversial middle school assignment ‘aligned with the goals of the District,’ superintendent says

CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio -- The superintendent of the Cuyahoga Falls City School District gave an update Monday on a controversial middle school assignment.

The questionnaire was distributed last week to students at Roberts Middle School in the district as part of a classroom "Whom To Leave Behind" exercise.

**See the entire assignment, below**

It instructed students to choose between a list of twelve hypothetical people;  students were asked to select eight of them as passengers on a space ship to another planet "because tomorrow the planet Earth is doomed."

The assignment stated: "Your task is to select the Eight (8) passengers who will make the trip. On your own, take approximately 5 minutes and rank order of the passengers from one to twelve based on those who you feel are most deserving to make the trip with one being most deserving and twelve being least deserving..."

The choices on the questionnaire included: an accountant with a substance abuse problem, a militant African-American medical student, a 33 year old female Native American manager who does not speak English, the accountant's pregnant wife, a famous novelist with a physical disability, a 21 year old female Muslim international student, a Hispanic clergyman who is against homosexuality, a female movie star who was recently the victim of a sexual assault, a racist armed police officer who has been accused of using excessive force, a homosexual male professional athlete, an Asian orphaned 12 year old boy, or a 60-year old Jewish university administrator.

Last week, Cuyahoga Falls City School District  Superintendent Dr. Todd M. Nichols told FOX 8 News the assignment was being investigated, after concerns from some parents and students.

On Monday, Dr. Nichols provided the following statement on the district's website:

"With regard to the assignment recently issued by a teacher at Roberts Middle School, it is important to provide context.  One of the District’s goals this year is training in the areas of diversity awareness and social justice.  In this case, the intent of this assignment aligned with the goals of the District and was issued in four seventh- and eighth-grade classes.

The intent of this lesson was to engage in an activity in diversity designed to promote tolerance and break down stereotypes.  The activity, which was drawn from the University of Houston’s Diversity Activities Resource Guide, was used as an ice-breaker during the first full week of school such that students can better understand each other and participate in group activities more successfully.

It is the responsibility of a 21st-century educator to deliver a holistic education to all of their students.  In Cuyahoga Falls, one of our objectives is to engage in conversations concerning diversity and social justice.

Unfortunately, some parents were upset and concerned by this particular assignment and thought it was not age-appropriate.  The teacher and District offer their most sincere apologies for the offense caused by the content used in this assignment.  Future assignments on this topic will be more carefully selected."

Watch our past report in the video, above.