VACAVILLE (CBS13) — There’s concern over a classroom exercise that many believe crossed the line.
An unnamed history teacher at Will C. Wood High School allegedly asked his students personal, and what some call inappropriate, questions as a way to increase understanding between peers. The questions had to with race, sexuality and family life.
While school officials say it appears the teacher had good intentions, they say he may have gone too far.
“It was really personal and deep,” said Will C. Wood student Joshua Zamecnik.
The personal and private questions were asked to classrooms full of 11th-grade students on Wednesday.
“One I can remember was if you were an immigrant and one was like if you were bisexual or gay or transgender,” he said.
Zamecnik says many students were confused and uncomfortable with the questions.
“Some people were laughing and people were just looking at him weird because it was just, like, really weird.”
The survey was similar to what’s called a privilege line, exercises performed across the county where people are asked questions about aspects of their life and either step forward or backyard depending on if it’s something viewed as an advantage or disadvantage. Advocates say it’s a way for people to better understand their peers and what hurdles they face in life.
“He said he wanted to get to know each other more,” said Zamecnik.
Student’s were apparently also asked if they were born out of wedlock or if any of their parents were addicted to drugs.
“I would feel pretty uncomfortable…I wouldn’t want my personal business out there in front of the class,” said Will C. Wood senior Jaden Englebrecht.
Parents are divided on the issue.
“It’s very inappropriate,” said Paul Buccelato.
Sidney Guthrie said, “Maybe that teacher was a little bit too forward thinking, but I think he was headed in the right direction.”
“It doesn’t bother me. I think it’s totally fine. It should be a safe place for them to talk about those kinds of things,” said Tiffany Hindman.
It’s against California Education Code for students to be asked personal questions, including about their sexuality or family life in the classroom, without parental consent.
Will C. Wood Principal Adam Rich says the exercise is concerning and says it is being looked into following a parent complaint.
“At the end of the day, this was an activity that sounds like made some students not feel good and made students not feel good about the teacher,” he said.
“I have nothing against the teacher. He’s really nice but the questions were pretty deep,” said Zamecnik.
It’s unclear if there will be any disciplinary action against the teacher. School officials say it does appear the exercise was performed in more than one of the teacher’s classes.