Middle school assignment asking ‘whom to leave behind’ sparks uproar

Students at an Ohio middle school were asked to decide who they would leave behind if the world was about to end, using age, religion and other descriptions as markers for their decisions.

The assignment sparked widespread uproar.

“Whom to Leave Behind” asked students at Roberts Middle School in Cuyahoga Falls to choose eight out of 12 people to put into a space ship and take to a different planet because the world was ending, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.

Choices included a homosexual pro athlete, a militant African-American medical student and a female movie star who was a victim of sexual assault.

Parents of some of the students called the assignment insensitive.

“What does her being Muslim have to do with it?” Bernadette Hartman, referencing another description, told WKYC-TV. “What does being female have to do with it?”

Hartman added the assignment made her son uncomfortable.

“This paper divides. It doesn't pull anybody together,” she said.

Superintendent Todd Nichols planned to meet with the unidentified teacher Monday, he told the Plain-Dealer.

“We take the matter very seriously, we are investigating it and we expect it to be completed very early next week with a resolution,” Nichols said, adding he didn’t hear any reaction from any students in the classes where the assignment was given.