Tulsa high school teacher let go after geometry problems involving Ted Bundy and 'Creepy John'
Brandon Richard, wkjrh.com
9:27 PM, Apr 30, 2013
7:29 AM, May 1, 2013
TUSLA - What does serial killer Ted Bundy have to do with geometry?
That's what one Tulsa mother wants to know.
When Christina Mattaliano looked over her son's geometry homework Monday, she got quite a surprise when she came across a couple of questions on two hand-written assignments.
Bundy, along with another man who likes to spy on his neighbors, were used as examples in two questions.
"I was shocked," said Mattaliano.
The principal at Nathan Hale High School, Caleb Starr, confirms the assignments were created by a male substitute teacher.
The question that references Bundy asks students to measure his ladder.
"Serial killer Ted Bundy has a 20-foot ladder leaning against his favorite tree. The ladder makes a 64 degree angle with the ground. What distance up the tree does the ladder reach?"
The other question mentions a guy named Creepy John.
"Creepy John watches his neighbors with a telescope. Their apartment is 12ft from the ground. John's is 36 ft. If the angle of depression from John's apartment is 47 degrees, how far apart are the two apartment buildings?"
"The first thing that popped into my mind was just it's creepy," said Mattaliano. "I don't know if (the substitute's) trying to be humorous, if maybe that's some of his personal interest. He could have just got to the same root of the problem with just a simple name. It didn't need the description about the serial killer."
Starr said the substitute wanted to engage students by getting their attention with colorful questions. Starr said another question, for example, refers to Godzilla.
Nevertheless, Starr said upon learning about the questions, he decided the substitute, who Mattaliano says her son could only identify as "Mr. Rodgers," will no longer work at Nathan Hale.
It's unclear whether the man will continue as a substitute at other schools in the district.
Mattaliano said her son, a tenth-grader, didn't even know who Ted Bundy was until she told him.
"He's a teenager. He wasn't really too worried about it," she said. Mattaliano, on the other hand, was worried as a mother.
She advises other parents to pay close attention to their children's assignments.
"Definitely look at the work they're bringing home. Check into what they're doing," she said. "It never hurts to be safe."