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Posted: 02/19/14

DNA homework draws
complaints from parents

Observer Staff Writer
      Questionable questions on a homework assignment about DNA has caused Romeo Community Schools to better scrutinize its assignments.
       Larry Basaj said his Romeo High School freshman daughter was stumped on her biology homework, so she asked him for help. When he read it, he was angered and confused.
       "I couldn't understand how a question like that could be put into a homework assignment," he said.
       One question asks: "Based on the information in this table, which men could not be the father of the baby?"
       The follow-up question read as follows: "The sister of the mom above also had issues with finding out who the father of the baby was. She had the state take a blood test of potential fathers. Based on the information in this table, why was the baby taken away by the state after the test?"
       The tables for both questions included options like the mailman, cabdriver, guy at the club and the cable guy.
       Basaj said he realizes students are exposed to scenarios like this through TV shows, movies and music, but didn't believe it was appropriate for schoolwork.
       "I have a hard time with how the whole question was worded," he said. "I don't choose to let my kids grow up thinking stuff like that is okay."
       Superintendent Nancy Campbell said upon examining the questions, administrators agreed they were inappropriate and would fix them.
       Campbell said the three-page assignment about blood types and DNA was taken from a website resource for the curriculum. She said staff was instructed to better screen websites and assignments so they aren't offensive.
       "The scientific content is sound, but going about it by painting these scenarios is not," she said.
       Basaj said he has no problem with the teacher that assigned the work, but hopes the district will be more diligent with its curriculum. He said the incident should also be a call-to-arms for parents to be more involved with their kids.
       "If she had never asked me for help I had never seen it, and God knows what else has slid under the radar," he said.

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