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Parents hold peaceful protest following inappropriate assignment at West Middle School

Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 11:52 PM MDT|Updated: Sep. 24, 2021 at 11:57 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Some parents around the community held a peaceful protest this afternoon in front of West Middle School. This is following an assignment a teacher there handed out that they believe was inappropriate.

Recently, 7th grade students were given an assignment that contained some questions in regards to sex that parents say were inappropriate. Parents are now outraged as they feel this is not only a suitable topic for their young kids, and saying that this has opened up a bigger issue, saying this is not the first time incidents like this have happened at this school.

“There have been too many incidences from a professional standpoint & there has not been swift action from the administration,” said parent Emily Kempton. “That’s why I’m here today. I think each incidence needs to be fully investigated, parents need to feel heard, & we need to feel that our kids are safe.”

The lesson students were asked to complete was a writing assignment where they had to provide detailed character development. It asked about the character’s background, friendships, & relationships. Some parents are saying the questions turned sexual and even borderline violent. Asking about the character’s choice of weapon & what kind of sex they have.

“It’s really scary,” says parent Angela. “We trust teachers with our kids & when they’re introducing this type of content, it is terrifying. These are our kids, they’re very impressionable, especially at this age.”

The school says the teacher found a list of questions online regarding character development and placed the questions in a document to later edit down. She says she deleted the inappropriate questions off of the document. However, when she went to upload the edited list, she says she accidentally uploaded the original list containing the sexual questions.

”2 weeks later she finally comes out with this is really what happened, and it’s really disturbing,” said parent Rebecca Samples. “A middle schooler should not be having to answer questions like this, it’s not okay, at all. It’s not tolerable at all, the first time I saw those questions pop up that was just unacceptable.”

“It surprised me,” said former West Middle School student Jasmine Samples. “I had her for 7th grade in West Middle School & it totally shot a bullet into my heart. This doesn’t seem like something she would do.”

“My son is in not the ELA class but one of Mrs. Jackman’s classes & I have not allowed him to be in that classroom since she’s still at the school,” said Angela.

The superintendent issued a statement today that says:

“You may have seen in the news or on Facebook this week that some inappropriate questions were accidentally posted on Schoology as part of a middle school English Language Arts assignment about character development. Some of the questions were not age- or grade-appropriate, and we apologize to any child that saw them before the post was taken off of Schoology. While the questions were posted in error when an unedited file was uploaded to Schoology, rather than an edited document that did not include these questions, this incident has led to a greater conversation about what content should be shared in class. We are committed to working with teachers, principals and schools to determine guidelines about age- and grade-appropriate content and conversations in class, and will update you on the progress of this work in the future.”

“It’s unfortunate that we have been told that an investigation is ongoing this person is still hands on with the children,” said Kempton. “And I’ve always thought you need to remove that professional while you do an investigation.”

The school did say the teacher has apologized to families of students in her class. But some parents feel the district needs to take disciplinary action and remove the teacher until the investigation is complete. Some parents tell me they have pulled their kids out of the school until the teacher is removed.

As we previously reported, the principal issued a statement saying in part:

“Though these questions were included in error, uploading them to Schoology for students to see was clearly inappropriate, and we apologize that this happened. These questions were not age-appropriate and we would never include something of that nature in our curriculum.”

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