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.
— Kathryn Burcham (@kathrynburcham) November 1, 2017
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.”