It’s apparently a big no-no to give an assignment to middle school students on privilege. That’s the lesson one Florida teacher who hoped to get her class thinking about the unearned advantages they might benefit from is learning.
Yoselis Ramos, a Spanish teacher instructing seventh- and eighth-graders at Monroe Middle School in Tampa, is being disciplined after parents complained that she handed their children a worksheet on privilege.
According to WTSP, the sheet posed the question "How much privilege do you have?" and then asked the students to circle categories that they relate to. There were columns for race, skin tone, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation and disability.
Ramos didn't collect the sheets, saying that they were only intended to help the students think about inequality in the books they were reading, an objective very important to her.
In Ramos’ LinkedIn page, the Latina teacher writes, “Knowledge means power. As a teacher, my desire is to empower students with the skills they need to be able to thrive, not only function, in our society. Those skills? Critical thinking, communication, empathy and logic through the Spanish language."
The parents, however, still weren’t happy. Regina Stiles, whose daughter is in Ramos' class, told WTSP that "her [daughter’s] sexuality and all that has nothing to do with school." She continued: “She's 12. Some of these things should be taught at home."
Another issue Stiles had with the worksheet was its labeling of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which her daughter lives with, as a disability.
"She has ADHD and apparently the teacher said there are some kids in this class that have ADHD, and ADHD is a mental illness, and that's why she circled that. To me ADHD is not a mental disability. It's something she has," Stiles added.
It must be noted, however, that ADHD is considered a mental health disorder. Still, despite this fact and regardless of Ramos’ respectable attempt to teach her students about crucial topics like privilege, inequality and diversity, she is reportedly being investigated because she did not get permission from the school to administer the worksheets.
"It was without principal consent. At the district level, we do not collect that kind of information," Tanya Arja, a spokeswoman for Hillsborough County Public Schools, told WTSP.
Ramos has been pulled out of class while the issue is being looked into.