Parents of fourth graders at a school in El Paso, Texas, aren’t happy about an “inappropriate” assignment their children were given this week.

A teacher at Pasodale Elementary gave students a reading assignment that asked them to draw inferences based on information given in a series of paragraphs.

Here’s the controversial paragraph:


Here is the text of the paragraph:

Ruby sat on the bed she shared with her husband holding a hairclip. There was something mysterious and powerful about the cheaply manufactured neon clip that she was fondling suspiciously. She didn’t recognize the hairclip. It was too big to be their daughter’s, and Ruby was sure that it wasn’t hers. She hadn’t had friends over in weeks but there was this hairclip, little and green with a few long black hair strands caught in it. Ruby ran her fingers through her own blonde hair. She had just been vacuuming when she noticed this small, bright green object under the bed. Now their life would never be the same. She would wait here until Mike returned home.

1. Why is Ruby so affected by the hairclip?

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2. How has the hairclip affected Ruby’s relationship?

Perhaps one could come up with a different inference from that information, but it seems clear that Ruby is concerned that her husband is having an affair with a woman with long black hair who wears little green hairclips.

Is this appropriate material for fourth graders?

Parents don’t think so. KTSM spoke with a few parents, and they expressed concerns about the assignment:

Ursula Silverstein said her 10 year-old daughter’s 4th grade teacher asked the class to read a series of paragraphs, and then answer questions about what each situation meant – an inference assignment.

Problem is, like several other parents with students in that class, Silverstein said parts of the assignment were inappropriate. She said the paragraph below describes a scenario where a husband cheats on his wife, and students were asked to make conclusions about what the situation was about.

“I think life situations like that should be taught at home, not at school,” said Silverstein.

“Why would the teacher give them that type of assignment, you know? It could be something about nature or planets. But something about that, it’s very inappropriate,” said another parent, Nancy Desantiago.

The assignment was meant to be completed in class, but a student who was unable to finish the work in class brought it home for completion. That student’s parent contacted KTSM to bring attention to the issue.

The Ysleta Independent School District released the following statement:

“YISD administration is aware of an unacceptable assignment that was given to a 4th- grade class at Pasodale Elementary. We apologize to the students and the parents who received this assignment. Campus administration has addressed the issue with the teacher, and has taken decisive measures to assure that future assignments are aligned to the curriculum and are of the highest instructional caliber.”

Teachers at the school do have to submit lesson plans for approval, but not all assignments are reviewed, according to a district spokesperson.

The assignment smacks of Common Core – it is is similar to worksheets that have made the news recently, but so far, that has not been confirmed.

Of course, it could just be part of the general decline in education that America has been seeing in recent years, with school assignments about DNA that help one determine which of four men could be a baby’s father, asking students to write suicide notes, read pornographic literature, and teaching kindergarteners sex education.

Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple. Her goal is to help people to “Wake the Flock Up!”