Their grades depend on their ability to get a date. A Utah high school is under fire after a “sexist” homework assignment to go on a date went viral on social media.
Jenn Oxborrow, the mom of a Highland High School junior, first shared a photo of the handout on Facebook on Monday, January 9. “My 11th grade AP honors student’s homework: ‘go on a date!’ With a boy. And follow his suggestions- don’t correct his personal habits, don’t waste his money, and show him respect. Thanks for educating our kids, Utah Department of Education. We really appreciate your evidence-based misogyny,” she wrote.
The assignment instructed the kids to go on a date with a member of the opposite sex that cost less than $5, and also included a list of suggestions from men such as “be feminine and lady-like,” “don’t expect love and commitment when the date is meant to be casual,” “don’t criticize his driving,” and “don’t worry about your appearance the whole date” so “if you think you’re too fat, etc, keep it to yourself.” At the bottom was a line for the student’s date to sign that indicated the assignment was completed.
The male students received a separate handout with instructions such as “no gross noises, chew with your mouth closed and don’t gripe about the money you’re spending or don’t have.”
According to the Salt Late City Tribune, the homework was part of the school’s adult roles and financial literacy class, which is required by Utah State law, and the teacher got the handout from a state-approved database of classroom materials. A spokesperson for the Utah Department of Education told the newspaper the handouts are being removed from the database. “They’re inappropriate,” he said. “And we’re taking them down.”
Oxborrow tells Us Weekly that she believes the problem is bigger than just the handout in question. “It worries me that the school district is acting like it is fixed because they pulled the worksheet,” she tells Us. “The assignment is indicative of a pervasive philosophy of gender bias being taught in our classroom statewide.”
Oxborrow’s daughter Lucy Mulligan said that the teacher made it seem the date was required, according to the Salt Late City Tribune. “She never said that it could be a friend,” she said. “She really didn’t leave it up to us if we wanted to or not.”
Facebook commenters shared in Oxborrow’s outrage over the coursework. “This assignment shows complete lack of understanding of student diversity, women’s (and men’s) rights, and what even is the learning goal for this assignment?! To obey gender norms? This is disgusting and distasteful,” one person wrote, while another added, “What about those who aren’t allowed to date? What about the LGBT community at this school? What about those who simply don’t want to go on a date?”
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