Md. school system says beer reference in homework assignment was - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Md. school system says beer reference in homework assignment was 'inappropriate'

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A group of sixth graders in Anne Arundel County in Maryland got a math assignment on Monday that involved a reference to beer. At least one parent objected and administrators admit the assignment was a "mistake."

Some of the sixth graders at Crofton Middle School got a science and technology homework assignment that asked students to consider units of measure (like quarts and pints and gallons). The assignment started with a question: "Why did the young actress stuff her autograph into bottles of that less-filling beer?" Alongside that question was a drawing of a beer bottle with a paper note stuffed in the neck.

As the students answered their measurement questions, their answers filled in the answer to the riddle: "She wanted to see her name in lites."

Cynthia Belcastro, a mother of one of the students, at first was puzzled. So was her child.

"My daughter said, 'I don't get it,'” Belcastro recalled. "I told my husband, ‘I don't really get it either.' And he was like, 'Lite beer, Cindy.' And I was like, 'Oh, okay,'”

The references to beer (and a hand drawing of a Miller Lite beer bottle on the assignment) did not sit well with Belcastro or with her husband.

"We just really feel strongly that this is not really appropriate for middle school-aged kids,” she said. “Our daughter is only eleven years old and she's in sixth grade."

Well, it turns out a measurement assignment for sixth graders with references to beer also do not sit well with administrators at the Anne Arundel County Public Schools system.

Spokesperson Bob Mosier told us, "I would point out to you that the assignment is not part of the common core curriculum. It's not from a document that's endorsed by our math office even. It's from a document that the teacher made a decision to give to a class that [she] really shouldn't have."

Mosier said using the word "beer" in the sixth grade homework assignment is "inappropriate" and particularly embarrassing given the emphasis in Maryland schools on avoiding drugs and alcohol.

The principal at Crofton Middle School is sending a letter home to parents. Students do not have to complete the assignment. Officials would not discuss what -- if any -- action was taken regarding the teacher.

For the record, Belcastro told us she will not mind when her daughter is exposed to the topic of "beer" -- in high school health classes.

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