On the next-to-last day of the school year, a veteran public school teacher in Mobile, Alabama, was suspended for reportedly giving her students a parody exam filled with racial stereotypes.
The test in question — which has been circulating online for over 20 years under the name "The L.A. Math Proficiency Test" or "The City of Los Angeles High School Math Proficiency Exam" — was reportedly handed out by Joanne Bolser to her students at Burns Middle School on May 27.
One of the students texted a picture of the exam to his mother, who was so shocked at the contents that she reported the issue to the school’s authorities on May 31. The school immediately placed Bolser on leave.
"We regret this happened," said a spokeswoman for the school district. "We have 7,500 employees at Mobile Public Schools and we overwhelmingly have excellent teachers."
The fake exam includes, for example, a reference to a boy named "Tyrone" who "knocked up" some girls in his gang, and turns it into a math problem: "There are 20 girls in his gang, what is the exact percentage of girls Tyrone knocked up?"
Other racial stereotypes include “Leroy” selling drugs to “Antonio,” specifying the dollar amounts of the transaction, and asking the reader to figure out the street value of what’s left over. There are also references to “Ramon,” who does drive-by shootings, and someone with a crack habit named “Dwayne.”
Of the 900-plus students who attend Burns Middle School, approximately 50 percent are black and 40 percent white, reports the Washington Post, using official state statistics.
In accord with Alabama state law, Bolser will be granted a hearing and be given the opportunity to appeal her suspension, the Daily Mail notes. Although her students reportedly considered the test a joke, it is not clear whether Bolser thought it was real or fake, or why she decided to give it to her students.
Previously, teachers in California, New Mexico, Texas and Illinois have been suspended for using the same test.