A B.C. teacher is being criticized for giving students an assignment asking them to label racism as a right-wing political belief.
Matt DeFouw posted a photo to Facebook showing a worksheet given to students at Valleyview Secondary School in Kamloops, B.C and what he says are the teacher’s answers to the questions.
The worksheet describes 10 people and asks students to label them as having left-wing, right-wing or centre political beliefs.
According to DeFouw, descriptions like “a person who believes that Canada should send aid to Third World Countries” and “a person who believes that the school strap should be abolished” were meant to be answered as left-wing, while “a person who believes that the Canadian military should acquire more sophisticated weaponry” and “a person who believes that women should stay home and be mothers” were considered right-wing. None of the 10 questions were given centre-leaning answers.
The description that has drawn the most attention, though, is: “a person who is a racist.” DeFouw said the teacher was looking for that example to be considered right-wing.
“If you look at the assignment the way it was written, it generally paints anyone who was right of centre as a misogynistic, racist xenophobe who is pining to enact a brutal police state,” DeFouw told CTV Vancouver.
“Everything down the list that was right-wing was highly offensive.”
Online reaction to the worksheet appeared to be largely along the same lines, with several people calling for the teacher who provided it to lose their job.
“Wow, that’s a teacher that doesn’t want to be a teacher anymore,” Sean Twomey said on Facebook.
“Totally wrong, racists come from all political and ethnic backgrounds!” added Roy Clarke.
DeFouw met with the school’s principal and received a letter from the school about the issue acknowledging that the paper presented an “oversimplification” and an improper look at the political spectrum.
“The lesson … will be revisited to explore that topic more thoroughly, to put it into context more so,” Bill Hamblett, an assistant superintendent with School District 73, told CTV Vancouver.
Other parents have suggested the worksheet may have been part of a lesson about political extremism. Investigations into the context of the lesson have been launched by the school district, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the province’s education ministry, which says the worksheet will no longer be used in School District 73.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Allison Hurst