Newburyport school apologizes for math problem referencing 9/11 terror attacks

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: A flower is left at the North pool during a commemoration ceremony for the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks at the National September 11 Memorial, September 11, 2017 in New York City. In New York City and throughout the United States, the country is marking the 16th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
A flower is left at the North pool during a commemoration ceremony for the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks at the National September 11 Memorial on September 11, 2017 in New York City. –Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Newburyport school officials are apologizing after high school students were assigned a math problem that asked them to calculate how long one of the planes involved in the terrorist attack was traveling in the air before it struck the World Trade Center.

Boston 25 News reports the algebra equation was assigned on Tuesday.

Newburyport Superintendent Susan Viccaro released a statement Tuesday on the homework assignment:

As a community, the Newburyport Public Schools recognizes the importance of honoring our First Responders and the brave men and women who lost their lives during this terrible act of terrorism. This assignment was not intended to be disrespectful to the thousands impacted by this horrible event. Rather this was an exercise of poor judgement by the educator who intended to use the historical event as a mechanism to engage students in a thoughtful discussion. In the future, we will work with our educators to find more respectful and mindful ways to continue the important and valuable discussions that should take place around these significant events without diminishing or otherwise disregarding the respect and reverence that is due.

District parents told Boston 25 News that one of the passengers on hijacked Flight 11, which flew into the North Tower, was Tom Percorelli, a graduate of the high school.

His sister, Angela Wadleigh, told Boston 25 News the teacher involved owes her and other families who lost loved ones in the tragedy an apology, calling the problem “very disrespectful.”

“It might have been 16 years ago, but to some of us, it’s 16 minutes ago,” she told the station. “It’s something you don’t ever recover from, ever.”

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