Teaching

A Controversial Way to Teach Geometry

By Catherine Gewertz — May 18, 2010 1 min read

A high school math teacher in Alabama chose to illustrate a geometry lesson by discussing with students the angles they would need to calculate if they were aiming a gunshot at President Barack Obama.

I’m not making this stuff up. It’s all here in a story from The Birmingham News.

Apparently the content of the lesson was alarming enough that the Secret Service was summoned. But those officials left after finding no “credible threat” to the president.

The teacher has an understanding boss. Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Phil Hammonds tells the newspaper that the teacher used bad judgment, but that there are no plans to fire him. A long talk, instead, is in the offing.

UPDATE: Since we first told you about this story this afternoon, Hammonds has had a change of heart and the teacher involved has been put on administrative leave and may be fired. Hammonds told The News his office was flooded with calls from people upset the district had taken no action agains the teacher after the story about the geometry lesson went viral on the Internet.

“As a district, we are embarrassed by his actions and what he said,” Hammonds told The News this afternoon. “There is nothing that can be said to rationalize what was said. We take this very seriously. There is no place in our society for a person to make these comments.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.