Serial killers and geometry aren’t usually something that go hand-in-hand, but for this Tulsa, Oklahoma substitute teacher, murder and stalking are apparently teachable moments.
Concerned mom Christina Mattalino was going through her son’s 10th-grade homework assignments and became alarmed when she found these handwritten problems:
"Serial killer Ted Bundy has a 20-foot ladder leaning against his favorite tree. The ladder makes a 64-degree angle with the ground. What distance up the tree does the ladder reach?"
Another assigned question referenced a character called — we are not kidding — “Creepy John”:
"Creepy John watches his neighbors with a telescope. Their apartment is 12 ft. from the ground. John's is 36 ft. If the angle of depression from John's apartment is 47 degrees, how far apart are the two apartment buildings?"
Mattaliano told WPTV, "The first thing that popped into my mind was just it's creepy. I don't know if (the substitute's) trying to be humorous, if maybe that's some of his personal interest. He could have just got to the same root of the problem with just a simple name. It didn't need the description about the serial killer."
According to the school’s principal, Caleb Starr, the substitute was trying to engage his students through the use of unusual questions (we’ll say). Citing an example, he referenced another question that referred to Godzilla.
Nevertheless, Starr said the substitute will no longer work at Nathan Hale. It's unclear whether he’ll continue as a substitute at other schools in the district.
Christina Mattaliano is probably relieved. She says her son didn’t even know who Ted Bundy was until she told him. “Definitely look over the work they’re bringing home. It never hurts to be safe.”