UPDATE x1: Round Lake Middle School principal Jeffry Prickett chuckled when asked if there's ever been as much attention to a 7th grade social studies class assignment as the one they've had this week.
"Can't say enough about the power of social media," Prickett said. "Certainly in the future, we'll use more caution, but it was a creative lesson. In the future, we'll probably use fictitious names and not use the school's official letterhead on lesson like that."
The letter that caused an uproar was reported here yesterday (see below). It was part of a lesson to teach the students how the colonists might have felt when they were told taxes on a product like tea was being put in place, and raised with no recourse for the taxpayers. At the end of class, the teachers told the students the letter was not real, and that it was a part of the lesson.
Some of the kids must not have heard that part, because at least one student took the letter home and gave it to his mother. Shocked with what the letter said, the mother put it on her Facebook page, and it took off from there. Despite the lesson being used in the past with no reaction from outside the classroom, that mom putting the lesson on Facebook this year created quite a controversy this year.
"We're surprised, and yet we're not surprised with the reaction," Prickett told Illinois Review. "People are sensitive to fee increases like that these days, and just the idea the school would do that set off quite a reaction."
Here's the letter the teachers sent home after the unexpected reaction:
See the original story and letter below:
The letter sent home with students said that following the winter break, Round Lake Middle School students would be required to pay 10 cents per photocopied page used for assignments. If they refused to pay the fee, they would receive a "zero" for that assignment's grade.
"This letter was part of a social studies lesson. It is not real" the school's principal Jeff Prickett told Illinois Review Monday afternoon. "We sent home a retraction letter to follow up."
According to some parents, the letter (below) was part of a lesson to teach the kids about unfair taxation, in the same way the tax on tea was unfair and was an event that led to the American Revolution.
Illinois Review asked for a copy of the retraction letter sent home to parents. We'll post it when we hear back again from Principal Prickett.