Death Panel Assignment in IL High School

Original Posted: :

St. Joseph Ogden High School in St. Joseph, IL just east of Champaign, recently gave their 14/15 year olds the death panel assignment below. This was given in the: Introduction to Social Science: class. The stated purpose of the class is

Introduction to Social Science (1/2 Credit)

Students will be given an introduction to several of the main fields in the Social Sciences. They will have units on psychology and sociology, political science, geography, and economics. This course is taught using hands-on activities that emphasize critical thinking skills. Students will take an active approach to learning about the world around them. Open to freshman and sophomores.

I have called the Superintendent and the Principal. There has been no response yet. The Superintendent is out for the next couple of days.


I have the following questions, which I have emailed to the Superintendent:

  1. Who created this assignment?
  2. Why was it created?
  3. Is this assignment part of Common Core Standards?
  4. How does this fit into a Social Studies curriculum?
  5. What learning standard does this fall under?
  6. Who approved this assignment?
    1. Superintendent?
    2. Principal?
    3. School Board?

UPDATE: : The following is the response from the principal, Brian Brooks

“The assignment you are referring to is not a “Death Panel” assignment.:  The assignment is one in the sociology unit of our Introduction To Social Studies class.:  The purpose of the assignment is to educate students about social values and how people in our society unfortunately create biases based off of professions, race, gender, etc.:  The teacher’s goal is to educate students in the fact that these social value biases exist, and that hopefully students will see things from a different perspective after the activity is completed.:  The teacher’s purpose in the element of the assignment you are referring to is to get students emotionally involved to participate in the classroom discussion, and to open their minds to the fact that they themselves have their own social biases.:  The assignment has nothing to do with a “Death Panel.”

We encourage parents to contact their son/daughter’s teachers if they have any concerns about an assignment in the classroom.:  That line of communication typically clears up any potential misunderstanding.”

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