"An activity of this nature would never be considered acceptable.”


An Ohio schoolteacher resigned Monday after she was suspended for giving her 10th grade class a "morality" quiz that involved rating the acceptability of provocative scenarios, including incest and puppy-killing. 


Sarah Gillam, 35, who taught English at Hilliard Bradley High School for more than a decade, was put on indefinite paid leave last week after the word of the exercise got out and caused an hullaballoo, as first ​reported Tuesday by ​The Columbus Dispatch.


Gillam handed out the quiz last Wednesday to her language arts class. The students were asked to rate 36 scenarios on a seven-step scale from “Not OK” to “OK." 

The first scenarios were relatively PG: a woman demands entry to an all-male club, a man refuses to cooperate with police during a traffic stop, and someone calls a homeless man begging for spare change a "loser" and keeps walking. 


Then, things got a little weird. 


"Using both a condom and the pill, a brother and a sister decide they want to sleep with each other -- just once, to see what it would be like," read one of the scenarios, according to ​Fox28Columbus.

The quiz also asked whether it is acceptable for a baker to refuse to bake a cake for a gay couple, for a man to kill a baby rabbit with a knife on live TV, and for a woman to bash in the heads of unwanted puppies with a stone. 


Todd Sandberg, a parent of one of the students, quickly posted the exercise on a Facebook page for Hilliard residents. To his mind, the quiz inappropriately exposed students to adult material and sought to dictate morality and political ideology to them. 


“I knew it was going to cause a firestorm," Sandberg said. He said he wanted parents to "be on the lookout" for what their children were being taught at school. 


As anticipated, he was not alone in his concerns. 

Another Ohio town, Cuyahoga Falls, was rocked by similar outrage last month after it was revealed that local middle schoolers had been ​asked to rank the worth of human lives based characteristics like race, religion, and sexuality. 


In both Cuyahoga Falls and Hilliard, parents seemed primarily worried that their children were being exposed to inappropriate, and perhaps excessively liberal, ideas. While such concerns are nothing new among conservatively minded Americans, in recent years, liberals have similarly been ​accused of sheltering their children from ideas that challenge them. 


At the same time, American political polarization ​reached record levels. 


In the face of outrage from Hilliard parents and others, the school district apologized.


“This should never have been given. The district works hard to earn the respect and support of students, parents and the community at-large and we regret any mistrust this may have caused," it said in a statement last week.


“We absolutely share the outrage of our parents and community. It is important to understand this was an isolated incident, and an activity of this nature would never be considered acceptable.”


Hilliard City School District spokesperson Stacie Raterman confirmed Gillam's resignation was related to the quiz. Gillam did not respond to Pluralist's request for comment. She is now "seeking a new professional opportunity," per her LinkedIn account. 


Germania is a staff writer at Pluralist.

You can reach her on ​twitter.