A 10-year-old girl studying in fourth grade refused to answer an ‘offensive’ math question in her homework and won the internet over. Rhythm Pacheco, a student of Grant Elementary School in Murray, Utah, spoke out against a question in her math homework that asked her to compare the weight of girls. She said that the question was “rude” and provoked to judge girls based on their weight. Rhythm’s stand has managed to draw the attention of parents and schools about the kind the content that children are exposed to in their books.

Key Takeaways: 

  • Rhythm Pacheco, a 10-year-old student in Utah refused to answer a math question that was offensive and rude.
  • The question asked her to compare the weight of girls.
  • Rhythm encircled the question and wrote a note to her teacher about how the question was not right as it was judging people based on their weight.
  • Her response has gone viral over social media.

I don’t want to be rude, but I don’t think that math problem was very nice because that’s judging people’s weight. Also, the reason I did not do the sentence is cause I just don’t think that’s nice. – Rhythm Pacheco

Rhythm’s response to the question

The math question which Rhythm was supposed to answer read, “ ‘The table to the right shows the weight of three Grade 4 students. How much heavier is Isabel than the lightest student?’ In response, she encircled the question and wrote, “What!!!! This is offensive. Sorry I won’t right [write] this it’s rood [rude].”

Image result for 10-years-old student earns praise for refusing to answer offensive math problem
Image Credit: The Indian Express

To further elaborate her reason for not attempting the question, Rhythm wrote a letter to her math teacher. She wrote, “Dear Mrs Shaw, I don’t want to be rude, but I don’t think that math problem was very nice because that’s judging people’s weight. Also, the reason I did not do the sentence is cause I just don’t think that’s nice. -Love Rhythm”

Image result for 10-years-old student earns praise for refusing to answer offensive math problem
Image Credit: The Indian Express

Reaction from Rhythm’s parents:

According to reports, the question was asked despite the fact that previous questions in the worksheet used objects like fruits and animals for comparisons so that a fourth grader could identify with the questions.

Pacheco’s mother, Naomi said in an interview, “Rhythm’s dad and I were extremely proud of Rhythm for listening to her gut instincts and standing up for what is right. Rhythm’s teacher was so responsive and handled the situation with such care. She told her she understands how she would be upset about this and that she didn’t have to write out the answer.” She further said, criticizing the question, “I was shocked… I was shocked, honestly, I feel like it’s such an irresponsible way to teach children how to do math,”

According to reports, the question was asked despite the fact that previous questions in the worksheet used objects like fruits and animals for comparisons so that a fourth grader could identify with the questions. Both Rhythm and her mother believe that comparing people did not qualify for something that a fourth grader should understand or learn.

Naomi also directed her statement to Eureka Math, the organization that published Rhythm’s assignment. She said, “I think we have other resources and other ways of teaching our children math and how to weigh proportions, objects, people, without direct comparisons — especially comparing little girls.”

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Publisher apologises

Rhythm’s response went viral and incited many views and questions. It alerted parents about the kind of questions that are being asked to their children and how they might affect their thought process. Besides, it also posed questions on publications that are responsible for publishing children’s books and worksheets.

As a response to the alarming situation, Eureka Math released a statement that said, “User feedback is a vital part of our culture; we are grateful to receive constructive feedback from students, teachers, and parents alike. We apologize for any discomfort or offense caused by the question. Please know that we will replace this question in all future reprints, and suggest that teachers supply students with an appropriate replacement question in the interim.”

Rudrani Kumari is an intern with SheThePeople.TV.

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