This Controversial Question Was Part Of A Math Homework Assignment For High School Students

A Pennsylvania high school is under fire after a student's math homework asked which of Maya Angelou's family members had sexually assaulted her.

According to Yahoo, the homework assignment was about Maya Angelou and her autobiography, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." It provided a formula and then proceeded with the problem. "Angelou was sexually abused by her mother's ___ at age 8, which shaped her career choices and motivation for writing."

The problem asked for the high school students to solve the problem and then answer whether Angelou was assaulted by her mother's boyfriend, brother, or father.

The following question on the homework asked: "Trying to support her son as a single mother, she worked as a pimp, prostitute and ___." It also gave an algebra formula and then asked the students to answer if it was a bookie, drug dealer, or nightclub dancer.

The assignment came from a website that is shared by teachers from around the world.

Pennridge Superintendent Jacqueline Rattigan released a statement apologizing for the mistake. "We apologize to anyone who was offended by the content of the assignment and have taken steps to avoid such occurrences in the future."


This isn't the first instance in where a homework assignment was overlooked by a middle school teacher in Fort Myers, Florida in 2015.

The assignment was also taken from Maya Angelou's book that was published in 1969 and is apparently assigned in many high schools around the country.


Many people disagree with the content of the equations and are working to get it banned.

This article first appeared on