Florida teacher fired over eyebrow-raising 'How comfortable am I?' assignment

HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. — A middle school teacher from Hernando County, Florida, is out of a job after a "How comfortable am I?" assignment came to light. The source of the assignment was a book called "Exploring White Privilege."

The teacher at Fox Chapel Middle School gave students an assignment that asked them to circle a response of how comfortable they were with living in a predominantly black neighborhood, single moms on welfare, mothers “coming out” to their children, gay neighbors, being invited to a gay bar, having a Jewish roommate and more.

The response choices ranged from “Not Comfortable At All" to "Completely Comfortable.”

The teacher, identified as Daryl Cox by WTSP, has been fired.

The Hernando County School District said, “In no way does that assignment meet the standards of appropriate instructional material.”

Mothers and students speaking to WFTS condemned the assignment.

“‘How comfy are you if you see a group of black men walking to you on the street?’ That’s completely inappropriate. In no world, whatsoever, is that OK to question a child on,” mom Jennifer Block said.

“I thought it was very inappropriate. I thought some of them were racist. I thought some of them were sexist. I thought it was completely intolerable,” sixth-grader Tori Drews added. “There were children that were saying this is wrong. ‘Why are we doing this?’ ‘Does this have a reason?’ She was going, 'Yeah this is kind of wrong ... maybe I should take it back.'”

Drews said the teacher immediately backtracked on the assignment and said, “No. Don’t show your mom.”

“Kids were asking if they could share it with their parents. She was like, ‘No. Don’t show your mom. Don’t take that home. I’m taking it back up,'” she said.

The student said the assignment was part of her “Leader in Me” class, which was meant to teach about accepting the differences of people.

“I believe that it was very wrong what she did. That she didn’t ask anybody before she gave it out. But I think that maybe she should have been put on a break and had like another training on something like that,” Drews said.

As WTSP reported, the assignment's source was a book called "Exploring White Privilege" written by Robert Amico, who gave the following comment on the story:

"There is a survey in the appendix of my book titled “How Comfortable Am I?” under 'Self-Assessment Exercises' that offers readers an opportunity to assess their comfort levels in a variety of possible situations that cover a range of issues, including race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, disability, religion, and so forth. The results can direct readers to areas worth further exploration for personal growth. I hope this helps."

Cox has not responded to media requests for comment.