Society

Oklahoma Educators Under Fire For Assigning Question On Abortion

| by Tony Tran
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An Oklahoma biology teacher is now under fire after assigning his students a multiple choice question about abortion, according to local station KFOR 4

Officials from the Edmond Santa Fe High School confirmed that several teachers at the school gave the students "non-graded exercise" on human genetic disorders. The assignment was intended to drive discussion and debate amongst the students

The question is as follows:

"You've found out that the child you (or your wife) carries has the gene for dwarfism. A new therapy exists that may repair this gene before the child is born. What do you do?

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A. Allow the child to be born with the gene, and we will accept the child as is.

B. Attempt the new therapy to repair the gene.

C. Terminate Pregnancy."

"For each of the scenarios below, circle the letter that matches your decision, tomorrow we will work together and discuss as a team," the assignment read at the top of the page.

Spokesperson for the district Susan Parks-Schlepp told reporters that it was made clear that the students were not forced to participate in the exercise, and that they could do it if they felt comfortable. Those who did not participate were not given a grade.

The assignment was handed out to five different biology classes, accroding to Parks-Schlepp, and in most of the classes, students did not take part in it.

"There was no punishment for any of the choices that they circled," she said. "It was meant to be a discussion."

She went on to say that the teachers were in no way imposing their beliefs on students, but rather they were studying genetic mapping and wanted to encourage the students to think critically.

Nevertheless, concerned parents took to the Facebook page for Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education to voice their concerns on both sides of the fence. 

"Abortion is a subject many parents would rather discuss with their children," wrote one commenter. "It is more than just an ethics question."

"That's not education but indoctrination," another said. "Don't teach kids to be Democrats or Republicans."

Many parents supported the decisions of the school to give out the quiz.

"There are no right answers," said one post. "If the teacher is good, they will make the students discuss and defend their answers."

"From someone who is married to a biology teacher ... whether it's right or wrong, it's teaching our kids to think," another person posted.

Many students gave their voice to the decision, some defending the action and others decrying it.

"Abortion just isn't right in my mind. I don't like the idea of it," one student said.

"People talk about quizzes and they talk about things in class," another said. "It would make me feel uncomforatable because I don't know if I could get hurt by what I say, or not."

The district will review the case further and decide as to whether or not it is appropriate to continue with the assignment in later years.

Sources: KFOR 4 Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, myuci.net