The first question told students to make a list of “25 objects around the house that can potentially be a weapon to kill a zombie.”
Next, learners were instructed to write a scene “for many of the objects with a main character killing a zombie.”
Set in “a zombie apocalypse,” the second part was all about survival. Students were told they must pick three people who they would "sacrifice" in order to survive. “Write about who they would be and why,” the instructions said, adding: "No martyrs here -- you must sacrifice three people."
Michelle Diedrich was not a fan, the Alexandria Echo Press reports. Diedrich's daughter, a freshman at Parkers Prairie High School, brought the assignment home. She told her teen to purposely get a '0', because she objected to the homework.
Diedrich was particularly upset at the question which asked students about sacrificing others. She didn’t like the thought that some kids’ names might appear on others’ lists. According to Diedrich, it had all the makings of a bullying situation.
“I kept thinking about that child that’s going to hear his name,” she told the Echo Press. “They were talking about it in class and talking about who they were going to pick.”
Diedrich brought her concerns to Principal Carey Johnson, who says the "no martyrs" assignment was initially offered as a supplement to regular course work. Following parent concerns, it was decided any papers turned in would not be graded.
Created by Washington state educator David Hunter, the Zombie-Based Learning curriculum focuses on problem solving, how to outwit zombies in order to survive by utilizing geographic thinking skills.
This assignment actually comes from an unrelated series of writing prompts for stories about zombies. Hunter, the course creator, tells the newspaper it goes way beyond his concept, which focuses on using one's geographic wits to out-smart the zombies, and contains no "people dying, killing zombies and even weapons."
Says Hunter: “I’m all about a little bit of controversy to get kids interested, like the idea that students get to use geography to plan how they survive the zombie apocalypse, but I also think there are some serious lines that shouldn’t be crossed.”