Montreal students find gunshot question in exam
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Monday, June 16, 2008 9:18PM EDT
A murder-mystery question on a Quebec high school exam has raised eyebrows, especially in Montreal -- a city still reeling from a school shooting two years ago.
The question -- an apparent attempt to appeal to students' knowledge of crime shows like CSI -- found its way into a Grade 11 physics test.
Students were asked to calculate which of four people was responsible for fatally shooting someone inside an auditorium. The suspects were represented by smiley faces.
"I just thought, 'Why would they put this in a school exam?' Marymount Academy student Simon Ohayon told CTV Montreal.
"Honestly, it was sort of in poor taste," he added.
Students in public and private English schools throughout Quebec took the exam, which was created by a committee at Riverside School Board, based in Montreal's South Shore.
Committee members were not available for comment Monday.
Students answering the question had to retrace the trajectory of the bullet to the right shooter. The test included a close-up image of the victim's skull -- also a smiley face -- with the gunshot wound just beneath the left eye.
"I think it's strange that people writing an exam for high school students would even think that this is an appropriate exam question," said Marymount guidance counsellor Elyssa Feldman.
She noted that many of the students at her school may eventually attend Montreal's Dawson College, where a lone gunman killed one student and wounded 20 others in 2006.
Because of that tragic incident, bullets are no longer used in science experiments in Dawson College.
"It became a real issue for our physics teachers," said Dawson spokesperson Donna Varrica. "They wanted to be socially responsible in view of the feelings of what we had been through, and so they chose other ways to show those examples and do those experiments."
Steven Erdelyi, head of sciences at Marymount, said some students at his high school have been personally affected by gun violence.
"I find it very disturbing, considering we've had some students whose brothers or sisters were shot," he said.
With a report by CTV Montreal's Anne Lewis