A homework assignment sparked a firestorm of concern from outraged parents after the details of the assignment were posted on Facebook. It seems one teacher took things too far when she had the students invade their parents’ privacy and report back to her.
Mapleton Junior High School in Utah County, Utah, is where Onika Nugent’s child attended school. When she saw what her kid brought home, she felt compelled to notify the public via social media. After seeing the assignment that she posted, other parents were nothing short of outraged since it seemed a health teacher tried to pull a fast one.
According to reports, the teacher handed out a form and directed students to go home and raid the family’s medicine cabinet, then report back to her with their findings. The form asked the children to list the medications and whether they were prescribed or bought over-the-counter, detail what they are used for, and indicate whether they are FDA approved.
Using the form, the children were also supposed to inform the teacher if the medications were still being used, how often they were being taken, and when they expire. When she saw the assignment, Onika Nugent not only posted the assignment to social media, she also sent a note to both the teacher and the principal, expressing her issues with the homework.
Sharing a portion of the letter written to the school with the local news, Nugent explained that she wrote, “Although it may be a good idea for parents to do an inventory of their medicine cabinet, I believe it is inappropriate for students to counsel their parents, or report to the school what that inventory is. It is a complete invasion of privacy.”
Many parents across the country quickly became upset as news of the incident spread, thinking it was part of a larger, widespread curriculum, such as D.A.R.E. or Common Core, according to Fox13. Concerned this was just the beginning of what was to come, those parents’ minds were put at ease when the school stated the acts were that of the teacher and not part of the school or state’s educational program.
Lana Hiskey, the communication specialist for Nebo School District, further relayed that the administration at the school district actually appreciates when parents come to them with information of this sort, saying they’re not always aware of everything that goes on. What’s more, she wasn’t a fan of the assignment either.
“Sometimes we’re blindsided, we don’t know if a teacher is giving something out that they shouldn’t be doing and so we absolutely want parents to come forward, let us know,” Hiskey said. “I wouldn’t be comfortable having my own children go through my medicine cabinet.”
In response, the school canceled the assignment. However, there was no word as to what action if any the board took in regards to the teacher as a result of these concerns. One can only hope she was educated on what’s appropriate to ask the children in her class and what most definitely is not so that she never crosses such boundaries again.
Given the increasing infringements on our right to privacy, often in the name of safety, security, or even data collection, stories like this leave us wondering where the line should be drawn.
While there’s arguably educational value to knowing what’s in the family medicine cabinet, the health conditions that can be revealed by such information are definitely not always something a parent might want their child to be sharing with their teacher nor is it something the school needs to know. Our health and the treatment of it are usually very private matters, so teachers should exercise better judgment than this when looking for teaching opportunities.