The Cuyahoga Falls City School District apologized on Monday for a controversial assignment that was given to students at Roberts Middle School last week. The assignment asked students to choose who they felt were "most deserving" to be saved from a doomed Earth from a list based on race, religion, sexual orientation and other qualifications.
A letter from the district said one of its goals this year is to provide training in the areas of diversity awareness and social justice. The district said this assignment, given to four seventh- and eighth-grade classes, aligned with its goals.
The assignment, called Whom to Leave Behind, asked students to rank 12 people from "most deserving" (1) to "least deserving" (12). Only eight of the twelve could be saved.
"The intent of this lesson was to engage in an activity in diversity designed to promote tolerance and break down stereotypes," the letter said. "The activity, which was drawn from the University of Houston’s Diversity Activities Resource Guide, was used as an ice-breaker during the first full week of school such that students can better understand each other and participate in group activities more successfully."
The letter concludes with an apology from the teacher who provided the assignment and the district due to upset parents who did not feel the assignment was age-appropriate. The district said future assignments on this topic will be more carefully selected.