A Florida high school just a 10-minute drive from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is under fire for a class assignment that invited students to weigh the fate of Nikolas Cruz, the former student arrested for the February shooting there that killed 17 students and staff.
The assignment distributed at Coral Glades High School asked, “Does Nikolas Cruz Deserve to Die?” It’s based on an article of the same title that was published in The New York Times Upfront, a newsmagazine for high school students.
The worksheet poses numerous questions about the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution which protects against cruel and unusual punishment. It aims to be a lesson on the history of the death penalty in the United States, and ties both topics directly to the Valentine’s Day shooting in Parkland.
Shooting survivor and activist Cameron Kasky, who was quoted in the article, is even mentioned in one of the questions. It asks students to assess what kind of emotion he was expressing when he said of Cruz, “Let him rot forever.”
Kasky himself shared the worksheet on Twitter, calling Broward County Public Schools “pathetic” for allowing such an assignment to be distributed.
This worksheet was given to students in @BrowardSchools. I cannot begin to express how pathetic I find this. Our school
board should add this to the list of 1000+ reasons to be ashamed. pic.twitter.com/tEl3BzTLg0
— Cameron Kasky (@cameron_kasky) December 7, 2018
Coral Glades posted a statement on its website that announced it was pulling the assignment, but the statement stops short of apologizing for it.
“The school’s leadership has pulled the assignment, is instituting an approved review process of all such materials and regrets that this incident occurred,” the statement reads. “Broward County Public Schools is working with the publisher to make them aware of our concerns.”
Stoneman Douglas parents like Cindy Levine remain furious that the assignment was ever introduced in the neighboring school in the first place. “These people lost their children for crying out loud, and my son could’ve been one of them, and a lot of our friends were killed,” she said. “It’s like sticking a knife in their stomach and turning it over and over.”
Because school officials did not respond to comment before the weekend, it remains unclear how many students were asked to complete the assignment.