School asks students in Broward County, FL: ‘Does Nikolas Cruz deserve to die?’

Assignment on accused mass shooter sparks outrage

School asks students in Broward County, FL: ‘Does Nikolas Cruz deserve to die?’
Parents and students are upset about an assignment that asked if accused mass shooter Nikolas Cruz should get the death penalty. (WPLG/CNN)

CORAL SPRINGS, FL (WPLG/CNN) – Some parents and students are upset about a reading comprehension assignment that includes a quiz about whether the Parkland school shooting suspect should get the death penalty.

The assignment was given to students just a few miles away from where that mass shooting took place.

The quiz, meant as an assignment on the death penalty, is titled with the question, “Does Nikolas Cruz Deserve to Die?”

School officials said it was distributed this week to students at Coral Glades High School, which is near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where Cruz is accused of shooting and killing 17 people earlier this year.

Stoneman Douglas parents like Cindy Levine are furious.

"These people lost their children for crying out loud, and my son could've been one of them," Levine said.

The outrage spilled onto social media.

Stoneman Douglas survivor and student activist Cameron Kasky tweeted: “I cannot begin to express how pathetic I find this.”

Andrew Pollack, who lost his daughter Meadow in the shooting, tweeted: “This is absolutely despicable … Does anyone at Broward schools have a brain?”

School staff posted a message on their website Friday, telling parents they were unaware of the assignment, which has since been pulled.

The school is instituting a review and regrets the incident occurred.

The material was from a subscription-based publication. The publisher, Scholastic, is based in New York, and the article the assignment quizzed students on came from The New York Times Upfront magazine.

Scholastic said in a statement that their intention was to “provide a platform for meaningful conversations around the history, civics and social impact of the death penalty. We deeply regret if the use of this real-life example added in any way to the ongoing suffering of the students, families and educators of the Parkland community.”

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