Quiz at Pearland ISD stirs controversy because of coronavirus question

"Is the coronavirus a scam?"
"Is the coronavirus a scam?"

PEARLAND, Texas – COVID-19 is real, people are getting sick and some are dying.

“We take precaution as much as we can,” said Jeremiah Rocha, a young father.

Despite the seriousness of the virus, there are people who remain highly skeptical of the reported case numbers, positivity rates, and other related statistics.

But is the coronavirus a scam?

“Why was she asking her students that in the first place,” asked parent James Benny? “What was she trying to get out of it?”

That was a question asked by a science teacher at Pearland Junior High East. It was posed in a quiz given to a class on the district’s Canvas learning management system. True or false were the answer choices and for those who said false -- they got the answer wrong.

The quiz raised a bit of a firestorm online when it went viral.

“That’s the kids’ opinion,” said Tina Burns, a mother of daughters. “So I mean, it’s not a right or wrong answer.”

James Benny questions the intent of the question.

“I can see if it was part of like a project or something to get a conversation started, which obviously it did,” he said. “That might be something that could be constructive. But if she was trying to prove some kind of personal point or some kind of agenda then maybe not.”

In a statement to KPRC 2 the school’s principal said the teacher was simply, “familiarizing students with the canvas learning management system.” He added, “The teacher’s intent was to spark conversation. it was not to imply the virus is not serious or to make any political stance. the question has since been taken down.”

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