Middle school teacher and track coach Mandy Bieder at Howard Mattlin Middle School on Long Island has been pulled from the classroom after assigning students a “life boat” style survey for homework. Parents were so outraged over the assignment that the teacher who assigned it has been removed from the classroom.
The assignment posed the question: “A nuclear strike on Long Island is imminent and you can only have six other people join you to hide in a bunker, but 10 people are there. So who do you choose?”
Local ABC reports, “In a letter to the families of the students on Tuesday, the principal said they have launched a full investigation into the “deeply inappropriate assignment” which includes the Central Office Administration and a substitute teacher will be provided until the investigation is complete.
“Our school, and our District as a whole, do not approve nor support assignments that are age-inappropriate, out of alignment with the curriculum, and fall outside of New York State standards,” Principal Dr. Joseph Coladonato said in a statement. “This assignment violated all of these criteria, and has no place in our classrooms. We condemn this type of material in the strongest possible terms.”
Per NBC Philadelphia retired New York City schoolteachers Sally Pollack and her husband said they do not condone the assignment, but said the teacher deserves a second chance. “I don’t think this is an appropriate topic for fifth graders to be doing. Maybe a college class would be better,” said Pollack. “We are both retired teachers so we certainly wouldn’t want somebody to get fired over making a poor decision one time…the principal was under a lot of pressure and he yielded to the pressure.”
The teacher at the center of the controversy did not return requests for comment from NBC New York. The teachers union declined comment.