According to RAINN, teen girls between the ages of 16 and 19 are four times more likely to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. And as if the increased likelihood of sexual assault wasn't bad enough, many high school students are bombarded with reminders about their lack of security. Some are even reminded of the dangers through their homework.
A teacher at Klein Collins High School in Spring, Texas is in hot water after giving 9th grade students a take-home test on a recent lesson on DNA. Students were asked to figure out who "raped Suzy" by studying DNA evidence results taken from the scene of the crime.
"Suzy was assaulted in an alley and is a victim of rape. The police collected a sample of sperm that was left at the crime scene and now have three suspects in custody. Which of the suspects raped Suzy?" the question read.
Students were then expected to compare the DNA samples of three suspects against the test results of a criminal. On top of being a wildly inappropriate question to make fourteen and fifteen-year-olds answer, the question help perpetuates the myth that rapes are committed by strangers jumping out at women in dark allies. In reality, three out of four rapes are committed by someone the victim already knows, according to RAINN.
A mother sent a copy of the test to KPRC 2 Houston, and the question went viral.
Parents were understandably livid. "It's upsetting and I know girls this age, just the thought ... they know that rape is forced non-consensual sex and that upsets them," Cookie von Haven, a mother of a 10th grader at the school, told KPRC. "That's why I can't fathom a teacher putting that on a test."
Dana Duplantier, the parent of a 9th grader, wondered how the teacher was able to get away with asking the students such a controversial question. "Wouldn't (the teacher) have to get that approved by the school board or teachers or something to put that in there," she told KPRC.
It turns out, the teacher didn't get approval from the school board. The question was conceived by the individual teacher and does not appear on a district-wide curriculum. 90 students in total received the take-home test.
In fact, the school district isn't happy about the question appearing at all. "The assignment is not part of the District's approved curriculum and is by no means representative of the District's instructional philosophy. The District has investigated the source of the materials and appropriate corrective action has been taken," Klein Independent School District said in a statement.
It would be wonderful to live in a world where high school students didn't have to fear sexual assault, but in the meantime, they shouldn't be asked to answer questions that reduce the gravity of rape to multiple choice.
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