Quiz asks Broward students: 'Does Nikolas Cruz deserve to die?'

Coral Glades High School students' quiz gets into painful subject

By Christian De La Rosa - Reporter, Marcine Joseph - Assignment Editor, Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

CORAL GLADES, Fla. - Some parents and students were protesting the content of a reading comprehension quiz that a Broward County Public Schools teacher distributed to Coral Glades High School students Friday. 

The quiz included a worksheet from an academic subscription service by the Scholastic Corporation, a New York City-based media company for educational materials. The worksheet included a New York Times' Upfront Magazine article about capital punishment published Oct. 8.

The controversial assignment was titled, "Does Nikolas Cruz Deserve to Die?" Parkland massacre survivor Cameron Kasky, a co-founder of the anti-gun violence movement March For Our Lives, was outraged. 

"I cannot begin to express how pathetic I find this," Kasky tweeted. "Our school board should add this to the list of 1000+ reasons to be ashamed."

After Cruz killed 17 people and wounded 17 others on Valentine's Day at the nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Coral Glades High School students were in mourning. Some participated in the marches that followed. 

While some doubted if the assignment was real, Ryan Petty, whose 14-year-old daughter Alaina Petty was killed in the Parkland massacre, took action. He is a member of the state committee that is investigating the massacre and is set to provide preventive recommendations Jan. 1. 

"A representative of the families spoke to the Principal of Coral Glades High, who was unaware of the assignment but immediately took responsibility to fix it and implement a review policy," Petty tweeted

Hours after the 9th grade class ended, Broward County Public Schools issued a regretful "Coral Glades High School Pulls Assignment With Insensitive Content" statement saying school administrators were unaware of the assignment and were instituting a new review process. 

The Scholastic Corporation also released a statement Friday night saying The New York Times Upfront magazine provides "balanced, age-appropriate information" to help inform classroom discussions.

"The article and the quiz were intended only to provide a platform for meaningful conversations around the history, civics and social impact of the death penalty," the statement said. "We deeply regret if the use of this real life example added in any way to the ongoing suffering of the students, families and educators of the Parkland community."

 

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