Derek Chauvin Trial High School Assignment Sparks Controversy

A class assignment at a Pennsylvania high school that centered on the Derek Chauvin trial has sparked a backlash after parents learned the students watched the murder trial, including the video of George Floyd’s death.

Some students and families felt it was written with a bias against George Floyd.

According to Fox News students in a criminal justice class at Bishop McDevitt High School in Wyncote were asked 10 questions about Chauvin’s trial, in which a jury found him guilty of all charges last week.

These were two of the questions:

  • “It is said that the death of George Floyd was due to the amount of drugs in his system that then affected his heart. The cop Derek Chauvin aggravated the issue by putting a knee on Floyd’s neck. Should Chauvin have been charged with murder if he did not directly kill him? Why or Why not. Must explain in at least 5 sentences.”
  • “Chauvin did not follow protocol and had a knee on Floyd’s neck for way longer than necessary. Floyd was resisting arrest, so why is Chauvin still considered breaking the law through negligence? Explain. If you don’t know what negligence is then look up the word.”

Another question asked how can they distinguish between a police officer who is “basically a jerk” and another who is racist.


“It was just questions about the teacher’s opinions,” the unidentified stepmother of one student told WPVI-TV.

“This teacher has placed her political views in the classroom and she is manipulating her students with it,” said Kimberly Jones, the student’s aunt.

According to the Fox News report, Jones said she sent the teacher a text message stating her opposition to the assignment.

“I’m sorry you feel this way,” the teacher reportedly replied. “It was just an assignment to have you critically think from all perspectives. I understand if you do not wish to complete the assignment and would rather take the 0.”

In a statement, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said a “handful of school families” contacted the school administration to voice concern over the assignment.”

“School administration immediately communicated with those families after reviewing the assignment in question to apologize and discuss a plan of action moving forward to address the concerns,” the statement reads. “Those families with whom school administration was in contact expressed that they were pleased with the planned resolution.”

The student’s family felt failing grade wasn’t an option and wanted the assignment removed entirely. Students were eventually given the option of being given another assignment instead, the ABC affiliate reported.

About Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith is a newcomer to Washington D.C. She met and married an American journalist and moved to D.C. from the U.K. She graduated with a B.A. in Graphics, Media, and Communications and worked in design and retail in the U.K.

Photo: (Photo by Ramsey County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images)

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