Friday, February 21, 2014

Freshman Biology Assignment: Use DNA To Find Your Baby Daddy...

No, it wasn't a college biology course. That was part of an assignment recently given to high school freshmen at Romeo High School in Romeo, Michigan, about 30 miles outside of Detroit. The father of one of those freshmen was asked by his daughter for help with her biology homework. When he looked at the question he was quite shocked.

The question read in part: “The sister of the mom also had issues with finding out who the father of her baby was. She had the state take a blood test of potential fathers. Based on the information in this table, why was the baby taken away by the state after the test?”
Among possible answers were a cab driver, bartender, flight attendant, and a guy at the club.
It may seem harmless to some. The question itself has even me wondering why the baby was taken away by the state. But come on... a question about a single mom determining her baby's father for a class of 14 year olds? Does anybody really believe this is a good idea? And based on the question, how many women/girls were pregnant in that family without knowing who the father was? Was it one or two?
The father of the young girl was outraged to say the least. “What are they teaching?” he asked during an interview with WDIV-TV in Detroit. “I couldn’t come up with the words. I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ It’s teaching them that it’s OK to not know who it is because you can have the state help you. And if they can’t help you, they are going to take your child away, and it’s not the way it is. I was beyond fired up last night.”
He sent the homework back to the school incomplete with a note attached that said simply "We teach our daughter not to sleep around." I think that's very admirable of him and applaud him for that action considering what he could have said in anger.
The girl herself said of the question: "Now that I see what it really means, I think it like depicts women in a really uncomfortable light.” 
To their credit the school district responded.
“The goal is that the students are understanding blood types and DNA and possibilities based on the makeup of the two parents,” said school Superintendent Nancy Campbell. “But, again, this painted a picture, I think, that was not appropriate. My first thought when I saw it was that it certainly could have been worded better.”
Campbell said the question came from a website used by teachers called "" and that the teacher had used the website before. The teacher has apologized for the question. But why would she use it in the first place?
“Teachers use all kinds of different resources that are available to them,” Campbell said. “This incident brings in awareness for all of our staff to, you know, be more thoughtful and reflective about the items they use when they put them on a homework assignment.”
Campbell did say only one parent had complained. Either that parent is the only one who read the question or something is seriously wrong with the parents of the other students. 
It's normally a good thing to use real life situations when teaching children. But it should be age appropriate and not make irresponsible behavior seem OK. Oh - and here's a suggestion... maybe the assignments given to kids should be reviewed and approved if it's not part of the standard school curriculum. Just a thought...

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