ISIS homework assignment sparks anger in Texas

ALVIN, TX -- Parents at one school say a teacher's attempt to explain the terrorist group ISIS to students was too intense for their age.

The assignment was given to a sixth grade language arts class at Alvin Junior High. The task, according to parents of students who received it, was to read a summary sourced to MTV News and then reflect on it in a one-page paper. The subject was The Islamic State o Iraq. It was titled "What is ISIS?" and in the second line explains to the 11-year-olds the terrorist group takes credit for beheading an American journalist.

"I don't know if my daughter would understand what a beheading is," said parent David McLendon

"You get an 11-year-old who comes homes and says, 'I didn't know they cut someone's head off, even showed video.' What are you going to do?" asked parent Russell Pharris.

Alvin ISD says it received only two complaints, but parents at the ball fields at Morgan Park with children at the junior high were well aware of the assignment. Those we spoke to consider it too advanced or a conversation they should be having with their children first.

"I think a bit much for an 11-year-old. They're still learning a lot. They're still going to the playground," Pharris said

"There's a lot of things you can write narratives on but beheadings in the Middle East -- foreign policy shouldn't be one of them for sixth graders," added McLendon.

In response, the district said there are no plans to reprimand the teachers. A spokesman sent this statement:

"As educators, our intent is to provide students with a supportive learning environment where they are able to discuss factual events and gain better understanding of the world around them.

"Our young people are inundated with information about tragic current events through various sources such as the nightly news report, newspaper and magazine articles, conversations with peers, and posts on social media.

"Our teachers strive to find the appropriate balance when teaching students about troubling world events while taking into consideration their age and maturity level.

"The sad reality is that Jr. High students are confronted with and are aware of the details related to ISIS. The goal of Alvin ISD is to ensure that students are provided appropriate opportunities to gain a factual understanding in the context of classroom-learning environment."
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