Parents protest peacefully after inappropriate West Middle School assignment


GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) – Some parents in the community staged a peaceful protest this afternoon outside West Middle School. This follows an assignment that a teacher handed in there that they deem inappropriate.

Recently, Grade 7 students were given an assignment containing questions about gender that parents deem inappropriate. Parents are now outraged as they feel this is not just a suitable topic for their young children, and say it has opened up a bigger issue, saying it is not the first time that incidents like this these are happening in this school.

“There have been too many incidents from a professional standpoint and there has been no prompt action from the administration,” said parent Emily Kempton. “That’s why I’m here today. I think every incident needs to be fully investigated, parents need to feel heard, and we need to feel that our children are safe.

The lesson the students were asked to complete was a writing assignment where they were asked to provide detailed character development. He asked about the character’s background, friendships, and relationships. Some parents say the questions have turned sexual and even bordering on violence. Ask questions about the character’s choice of weapon and what type of gender they have.

“It’s really scary,” said Mother Angela. “We trust teachers with our kids and when they present this type of content, it’s terrifying. They are our children, they are 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 for later editing. She says she deleted the inappropriate questions from the document. However, when she went to download the edited list, she says that she accidentally downloaded the original list with the sexual issues.

“2 weeks later, she finally comes out that this is really what happened, and it’s really disturbing,” said Rebecca Samples, parent. “A college kid shouldn’t have to answer questions like this, that’s not good at all. It is not tolerable at all, the first time I saw these questions arise it was simply unacceptable.

“It surprised me,” said West Middle School alumnus Jasmine Samples. “I got it in 7th grade at West Middle School and it totally shot me in the heart. It doesn’t seem like something she would do.

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

The Superintendent today released a statement that says:

“You may have seen in the news or on Facebook this week that inappropriate questions were accidentally posted on Schoology as part of a college English assignment on character development. Some of the questions were not. age or grade appropriate, and we apologize to any child who viewed them before the post was removed from Schoology. While questions were posted in error when an unedited file was uploaded on Schoology, rather than a modified document that did not include these questions, this incident led to a greater conversation about what content to share in the classroom. We are committed to working with teachers, principals and schools to determine guidelines for age and grade appropriate content and classroom conversations, and we will keep you posted on the progress of this work in the future.

“It is unfortunate that we have been told that an investigation is underway, this person is still in contact with the children,” Kempton said. “And I always thought you had to remove this professional while you were investigating.”

The school said the teacher apologized to the families of the students in her class. But some parents believe the district should take disciplinary action and fire the teacher until the investigation is complete. Some parents tell me that they have taken their children out of school until the teacher is removed.

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

“Although these questions were included in error, uploading them to Schoology for students to view was clearly inappropriate, and we apologize that this happened. These questions were not age-appropriate and we are not. ‘We would never include something of this nature in our program.

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