A Florida mother is outraged after learning about a test given to students asking them choose which race of people they would save if they were on a sinking ship.
History teacher Mr. Hagerman calls it “The Lifeboat Test.” The exam asks Giunta Middle School sixth graders a series of questions involving race, gender and religion, WFLA reported. Students are asked to pick nine out of 15 people they would save in a life or death situation.
Parent Valerie Kennel told WFLA the exam was “racist in every form.”
“Who do you pick? Why is one person better than the other? Why does some get left out?” she said the test asked. “So, who would you get rid of in this situation: The white man or the black man? The Hispanic woman or the pregnant woman? The rabbi or the minister? President Barack Obama or Donald Trump?”
The full test asked:
The following 15 people are on a yacht (a fancy boat).
The yacht developed a leak and is sinking fast.
There is only one lifeboat and only nine people will fit.
Not one more can fit and there are no more lifeboats or lifejackets.
You must come to an agreement as to which nine people you will save.
You must also list people in order of importance, because if they run out of food and water the less important people will have to be dumped over board.
You will have __ minutes to complete the activity.
Bonus: You will get bonus points if you write in complete sentences why you chose those people for the lifeboat.
1. A pregnant woman
2. An ex-convict
3. A guy doctor
4. A girl doctor
5. A black guy
6. A white guy
7. A Hispanic woman
8. A minister
9. Donald Trump
10. Mr Hagerman (their teacher)
11. Mr Bobo
12. A rabbi
13. Barack Obama
14. Justin Bieber
15. A police officer
Kennel’s 11-year-old daughter, Leah Davis, said the questions made her and several of her other classmates uncomfortable.
“Whenever I got it at school, I was like, I don’t want to do this, and I got kind of upset about it,” Davis said. “Everybody in the classroom got upset about it and said, ‘This is racist. This is racist.’”
Davis said one student refused to do the assignment, ripped up the paper, and was reprimanded by the teacher. She said the student was put on a “time-out.”
Kennel said she doesn’t understand what the test was trying to accomplish.
“This had nothing to do with history, nothing to do with it, and what is it teaching them?” Kennel said. “Leah is 11. How is she supposed to pick people based off of what they’re saying? Like to her everybody matters.
“Everybody should have a chance. They didn’t do anything wrong. Everybody deserves to be saved.”
The Hillsborough County School district claims the test was meant to be a team-building exercise and was not meant to be racist.
“This school has a culturally diverse population,” a school spokesperson said. “The test brought up good debates on how to work together, building relationships.”
Kennel, however, said she plans to meet with the principal to further discuss the issue.
“They need to be careful with what their teachers are putting out there,” she added.