An Illinois high school teacher is facing backlash after offering her students a math problem that involved cocaine use, KMOV (St. Louis) is reporting.
Roxana Senior High School is in southwestern Illinois, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, in the suburban region known locally as Metro East. It was there that, on Wednesday, reports began flooding in of a rather unusual math problem posted on a dry-erase board in a Roxana classroom.
“You take 600mg of cocaine. Your body filters out 40 percent per hour. How high are you after three hours?”
Another question asked the kids to figure out how much they would have to pay their cocaine dealer if they owed him $1,000, paid at 25 percent daily over a year.
Parents were not amused.
Parent Christy Scott was shown the problem by a reporter. Her reaction was one of shock.
“Wow. That’s a school math problem? We don’t need to be teaching children how long it takes to filter cocaine out of their bodies. That is ridiculous. That is not what we should be doing. We should be preventing this and not teaching them how to get rid of it.”
However, student Joseph Saban says he thinks the teacher, whose name has not been released, was simply trying to be relevant.
“Either he was trying to relate in some way with the kids, be funny or something like that.”
— Roxana High School (@RHS_Shells) February 1, 2018
The teacher has since apologized, according to the News Tribune, calling the assignment a “lapse in judgment” and saying that he did not intend to make light of drug use. Similarly, the Roxana School District has also issued an apology.
“Student welfare is always the Roxana School District’s #1 priority. Unfortunately, unacceptable examples were used in a high school math class causing some parent and student distress. The district views the use of yesterday’s classroom examples as a demonstration of poor judgment.”
Unfortunately, teachers sometimes get a bit overzealous — or completely abandon all sense of judgment and propriety — when trying to make an assignment relevant to their students, and this is not the first time it’s happened.
As NBC News reported at the time, back in 2016 an Alabama teacher got into trouble for a similarly poorly-thought-through assignment.
“Tyrone knocked up 4 girls in the gang. There are 20 girls in his gang. What is the exact percentage of girls Tyrone knocked up?”
That teacher was later placed on administrative leave.
Similarly, back in September 2017, as the Kansas City Star reported, a South Carolina teacher gave fifth-graders an inappropriate assignment.
“You are a member of the KKK. Why do you think your treatment of African-Americans is justified?”
That teacher was also placed on administrative leave.
Back in Illinois, Roxana administrators are declining to say what punishment, if any, the teacher who assigned the cocaine-based math problem will face, saying they are treating the issue as an internal personnel matter.