Essays, projects, reading, and worksheets are all expected homework assignments for a high school curriculum. A mandated date with a member of the opposite sex is not.
Parents of students at Highland High School in Salt Lake City were enraged when they discovered their kids were supposed to go on a date to get a grade. While questionable as an academic exercise in the first place, the "suggestions" that students had to follow in order to get credit were overwhelmingly sexist.
Jenn Oxborrow shared a photo of the assignment on Facebook with some thoughts about the project.
“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,” she wrote. “Thanks for educating our kids, Utah Department of Education. We really appreciate you evidence-based misogyny.”
The list of suggestions for the girls includes: “Eat the food you order.” “If you think you’re too fat, keep it to yourself.” “Be feminine and lady-like.” “Show respect for him.”
The boys' instructions are no better. The list includes: “Don’t gripe about the money you’re spending or don’t have; at a restaurant, say what you’re going to order so she will have a guide in ordering; no gross noises.”
People were understandably horrified about the sexism and backwards thinking of the assignment. Fortunately, the school agreed.
They’re inappropriate,” Mark Peterson, a spokesperson for the Utah Board of Education told Scary Mommy, “and we’re taking them down.”
The school's principal, Chris Jenson, added, “There’s no doubt that there is gender bias in the assignment. There are some things that are relatively arcane in that assignment and that need to be updated or gotten rid of.”
While the worksheet shouldn't have been handed out in the first place, it is refreshing to see the school reacting quickly and responsibly.