School assignment places kids as heads of death panels

Adan Salazar
Oct. 11, 2013

A high school assignment asking students to choose life or death for terminally-ill patients in a real-world limited healthcare scenario has sparked outrage.

Click to enlarge / via

Click to enlarge / via

Freshmen and sophomore students taking a social science class at the St. Joseph-Ogden High School in St. Joseph, Illinois, were provided a list of 10 fictional persons and asked to choose six people who they felt deserved to live. The other 4 would die.

“The following ten people have a problem,” the lesson begins. “They are all in desperate need of Kidney Dialysis (the process that removes wastes from the bloodstream). Unless they receive this procedure, they will die. The local hospital has enough machines to support only six people. That means four people are not going to live.”

The assignment asked students whether a housewife, doctor, lawyer, disabled person, cop, teacher, minister (Lutheran), college student, ex-convict or a prostitute ultimately deserved to meet their demise.

It listed the ten fictional terminal patients’ races, genders and ages, and asked pupils to score them each with numerical values from 1 to 10, 1 being the person they would most like to survive.

The macabre nature of the assignment of course echoes what many believe Obamacare will inevitably lead to, death panels which would have to be implemented in order to keep healthcare premiums low.

Champion News writer Lennie Jarratt contacted the school and was told the lesson was not at all about conditioning children to be indifferent to death panels, but was instead to teach students about “social bias.”

“The teacher’s goal is to educate students on the fact that these social value biases exist, and that hopefully students will see things from a different perspective after the activity is completed,” St. Joseph-Ogden High School principal Brian Brooks told Jarratt.

Fox News radio host Todd Starnes says that explanation doesn’t hold water.

“No matter what how the school tries to explain it, a group of young kids was deciding who got to live and who got a death sentence,” Starnes wrote.

“St. Joseph-Ogden High School’s social studies class sounds more like a recruitment center for the Department of Health and Human Services.”