Third grade homework: Should U.S. put "illegal aliens" to death?


A troubling homework assignment at a Georgia school recently asked third-graders, "What is an illegal alien?" and whether the U.S. should put them to death, force them to work in the army or shoot them into outer space.

The controversial "reading assignment" caught the attention of Kelly Avalos after her 9-year-old brother asked for help with his homework.

"The homework assignment was not appropriate," said Avalos to CNN. "The questions and story were disturbing, and I felt offended by what was asked. My brother is in the third grade, and I don't feel he needs to be reading things such as putting another human to death because of their legal status ... the idea upsets me," she said.

The assignment was given to students at the Chesney Elementary School in Duluth, a suburb of Atlanta.

Apparently school officials agree with Avalos and note the mishap. Gwinnett County Public Schools spokesperson Jorge Quintana said the first year teacher, who happens to be Latina, did not use good judgment in choosing the assignment for her students.

"Teachers have the option to use additional and supplemental material for education purposes," said Quintana. "But this particular material was not approved by the school district."

He said the school system has established procedures to review educational materials that teachers select for the classrooms. However, that process was overlooked and the individual teacher obtained the material without approval by school administrators.

After outrage by parents, community and immigrant rights activists, the online publisher,, where the teacher got the material, pulled the assignment and said it is no longer available.

The websites creators said in a written statement to CNN that they had received "a lot of feedback" about the article. "The question that was discussed, we felt was in poor judgment and has been removed. The main goal of the article was to teach comprehension and also that people need permission before going to another country."

Quintana said the teacher could face reprimand and receive additional training to avoid similar incidents. It's unclear if the teacher will be suspended or if legal action will be sought.

Avalos hopes parents will be more vigilant regarding what their children bring home as homework. Reading assignments like these actually mold children's minds, she said.

Photo: Pepe Lozano/PW

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  • This is incredible on a number of levels, starting with the utter ignorance and hatred in the heart of the teacher...but ending with the operators of an educational resources website that is pushing such garbage with obvious delight and glee; until an "inconvenient" controversy forces them to delete the junk.

    Posted by RDC, 03/31/2011 12:00pm (5 years ago)

  • this is awfull; my sister lives in Georgia and she is Latina but thinks she is more American than the Americans! This sound like something she will read and encourgage, well it is the Land of the Free after all! Right?

    Posted by Kathia, 03/31/2011 10:12am (5 years ago)

  • This is dumb. You're not legally allowed to be in a country, you're an illegal alien. Period.

    Posted by troy, 03/31/2011 9:57am (5 years ago)

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