School district issues ‘apologies’ for distributing math worksheet that asked if poet Maya Angelou was a ‘Drug Dealer’ or ‘Night Club Dancer’
In late February 2022, Lincoln County R-III School District distributed a worksheet to students that included unusual multiple choice math problems, according to a local resident who shared a photo of the worksheet on Twitter.
One question from the “Person Puzzle” worksheet asked if Nobel Laureate poet Maya Angelou was “sexually abused by her mother’s” boyfriend, brother or father. Another question asked whether the writer worked as a “pimp, prostitute” and bookie, “Drug Dealer” or “Night Club Dancer” to support her son as a single mother.
Audrey Henebry, community relations director of Lincoln County R-III School District, told Parents Defending Education that the worksheet was “not in line with approved curriculum” and the school district expressed its “most sincere apologies for any offense that this has caused.”
“Over the extended weekend, an assignment from a school in the LCR3 District was brought to the attention of our building and district leadership that included content that is not in line with approved curriculum. We offer our most sincere apologies for any offense that this has caused, and want to assure our community that this content does not align with the beliefs or mission of the Lincoln County R-III School District. Unfortunately, the assignment originated from a website that allows teachers around the world to share educational resources. At this time, it has been removed from the course and steps are being taken to ensure that it is not used in the future.”
Clint Clark, the creator of the worksheet and chief executive of Clark Creative Education, told Parents Defending Education that he created the worksheet as a teacher at Columbus International High School between 2010 and 2012 for a course on human trafficking and an Algebra 1 class. He said, “I do regret that I put it online.”
He has since revised the worksheet with new questions.
In the worksheet, titled Question No. 3 asked:
y = x + 2
3x + 6y = 12
Maya Angelou was sexually abused by her mother’s ________ at age 8, which shaped her career choices and motivation for writing.
a. (0, 2) boyfriend
b. (4, 6) brother
c. (-3, -1) father
Question No. 5 asked:
x = y – 1
y = -4x + 21
Trying to support her son as a single mother, she worked as a pimp, prostitute and _______.
a. (-3, -2) Bookie
b. (9, 10) Drug Dealer
c. (4, 5) Night Club Dancer
Clark, the worksheet creator, shared with Parents Defending Education his new worksheet. The new question regarding Angelou’s abuse is written as: “After suffering from childhood abuse, Angelou became mute for _______ years.”