Some El Paso 4th graders are studying more than reading, writing and 'rithmetic!

A 4th grade class at Pasodale Elementary School were recently given an assignment that required them to read a paragraph and then answer questions based on what they think has happened in the story.

Not a big deal really, except the passages the students were given to read involved infidelity, domestic violence and a soldiers mother being notified of her sons death. Seriously.  According to the passages and questions read as follows:

Ruby sat on the bed she shared with her husband holding a hairclip. There was something mysterious and powerful about the cheaply manufactured neon clip that she was fondling suspiciously. She didn't recognize the hairclip. It was too big to be their daughter's, and Ruby was sure that it wasn't hers. She hadn't had friends over in weeks but there was this hairclip, little and green with a few long black hair strands caught in it. Ruby ran her fingers through her own blonde hair. She had just been vacuuming when she noticed this small, bright green object under the bed. Now their life would never be the same. She would wait here until Mike returned home.

Why is Ruby so affected by the hairclip?

How has the hairclip affected Ruby's relationship?

From where did the hairclip most likely come from?


"Tommy!" Mom called out as she walked in the front door. "Tommy," she continued shouting, "I sure could use some help with these groceries. There was still no reply. Mom walked into the kitchen to put the grocery bags down on the counter when she noticed shattered glass from the picture window all over the living room floor and a baseball not far from there. "I'm going to kill you, Tommy!" Mom yelled to herself as she realized that Tommy's shoes were gone.

What happened to the window?

Why did Tommy leave?


Valerie opened up the letter from the military department. She felt the pit of her stomach drop to the bottom of the earth before she even opened it. She knew it was news about John. As she read the first line, she thought of all of the lunches she had packed him and all the nights she tucked him in his bed and warded off the nighttime monsters. The man carrying the flag put his hand on her shoulder. She thought of the day that John signed up for the military. Her tears wet the letter. She stopped reading after the first line. What does the letter say?

What is Valerie's relationship to John?

The Ysleta Independent School District released the following statement:

"YISD administration is aware of an unacceptable assignment that was given to a 4th- grade class... Campus administration has addressed the issue with the teacher, and has taken decisive measures to assure that future assignments are aligned to the curriculum and are of the highest instructional caliber."

These questions were an "in class" lesson.  Meaning that no one would have probably ever known were it not for one child who missed the lesson and was allowed to take it home to finish. Now, a couple of questions for you guys:

Are these questions appropriate for 4th graders?

Are they appropriate at all?

Should the teacher who used them be allowed to continue working with kids?