Schoolgirl refuses to answer ‘offensive’ homework question
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Featured Image Credit: Naomi Pacheco/NBC News
A schoolgirl wrote a note to her teacher explaining why she had refused to answer one of her homework questions, deeming it to be ‘offensive’ and ‘rude’.
Rhythm Pacheco, 10, has since been praised for her actions, which took place in 2019, after her mum Naomi shared the note online.
Naomi first discovered her daughter’s handiwork when Rhythm called her over one evening to look at her math homework, after she said she wasn’t answering one question because it was ‘wrong’.
The question the young girl was referring to read as follows: "The table to the right shows the weight of three Grade 4 students. How much heavier is Isabel than the lightest student?"
Rhythm believed the question was offensive to young girls who might already feel insecure about their bodies.
Her mum Naomi told TODAY Style: "Rhythm circled the question on the math worksheet and wrote ‘WHAT!’ She drew an arrow that pointed to the question and wrote, ‘Sorry I won’t write this, it’s rude’."
Rhythm then wrote a note to her teacher explaining why she couldn’t answer the question, saying she didn’t want to be rude but that ‘judging people’s weight’ is not ‘very nice’.
Rhythm, who did end up solving the problem without indicating which child was heavier, said she decided to write the note to her teacher because she didn’t want similar questions to keep appearing on homework.
The young girl explained: "I was very nervous I would get in trouble for not writing out the question, but I still solved the problem. My teacher spoke to me about it and made me feel like she was on my side."
Her mum said Rhythm’s math teacher at Grant Elementary School in Murray, Utah, completely understood her point and ‘handled the situation with such care’. She even responded to her note and told Rhythm that she didn’t have to write out the answer.
The Murray City School District’s communications and public information specialist, D. Wright, told TODAY they are pleased Rhythm’s teacher handled the situation in such a positive manner, praising the teacher in question for being ‘sensitive, supportive and understanding’.
The curriculum programme responsible for the question, Eureka Math, said it had never received this type of feedback before and explained it uses both male and female names in its problem sets.
However, the programme’s creator, Chad Colby, said they are taking it seriously: "User feedback is a vital part of our culture. We are grateful to receive constructive feedback from students, teachers and parents alike. We apologise for any discomfort or offence caused by the question.
"Please know that we will replace this question in all future reprints, and suggest that teachers supply students with an appropriate replacement question in the interim."
Although the question might seem trivial to some, Naomi says both she and Rhythm’s dad are ‘extremely proud’ of their daughter for ‘standing up for what is right’.