A photo circulating online shows a worksheet which includes a story about adultery that was allegedly given to a third grade class. Is this worksheet real or fake?
The worksheet was posted on eReadingWorksheets.com which offers several “Common Core” sheets on “inferences.” The worksheets were produced by Donald Morton, who describes them as follows:
In each inference worksheet students are asked to do two things: answer questions where the solutions can only be provided by making logical inferences, and explain how they got their answers.
The story in question originally appeared on Worksheet #1 and read:
Ruby sat on the bed she shared with her husband holding a hairclip. There was something mysterious and powerful about the cheaply manufactured neon clip that she was fondling in her newly suspicious palms. She didn’t recognize the hairclip. It was too big to be their daughter’s, and Ruby was sure that it wasn’t hers. She hadn’t had friends over in weeks but here was this hairclip, little and green with a few long black hair strands caught in it. Ruby ran her fingers through her own blonde hair. She had just been vacuuming when she noticed this small, bright green object under the bed. Now their life would never be the same. She would wait here until Mike returned home.
A photo of the worksheet has been shared thousands of times on Facebook and includes what appears to be a parent’s handwriting which states:
Inappropriate!! I’m not explaining to an 8 year old!
On October 8, 2013, Morton commented on the site and stated that he had decided to change the controversial section:
Though I have long defended this content, I now realize that no warning or alert can prevent this mature subject matter from falling into the hands of very small children. In the interest of making this site friendly for all readers, I have revised the content in question.
It has since been replaced with a more benign text:
Today was a special day in Ms. Smith’s class. Some of the children were walking around the room, some of them were standing in small groups, and some of them were at their desks, putting finishing touches on cardboard mailboxes. After coloring a cool flame on the side of his racecar mailbox, Johnny hopped out of his chair, strutted over to Veronica’s desk, and dropped a small white envelope into her princess castle mailbox. Veronica blushed and played with her hair. While this was happening, Bartleby was frantically trying to put a small white envelope into everyone’s mailbox. After giving one to Ms. Smith, Bartleby pulled out a medium-sized red envelope from his pocket. He blushed and tried to put it in Veronica’s mailbox, but it wouldn’t quite fit. Bartleby struggled with it for a few seconds and then ran off with the envelope. Veronica rolled her eyes and popped her gum.
Gilbert, AZ Story
In February 2013, a fourth grader also ran across the same adultery worksheet, and it was reported on the local news at that time. Below is that news report from Gilbert, AZ:
The worksheet depicting an adulterous story is real, although the author has since removed the controversial content.
- Adult-themed homework sent home from Gilbert elementary school (Brian Webb, ABC15.com: February 13, 2013)