Jeffco assignment awards extra credit for brewery tour, creates controversy

ARVADA, Colo. — A biology assignment involving beer is creating controversy at a Jefferson County high school.

One teacher at Ralston Valley High School gave 15-year-old biology students an assignment to study the steps of the beer brewing process in an effort to help teach those students about the fermentation process.

The teacher offered extra credit if students toured the Coors Brewery. And that’s what angered some parents.

Adrienne Moerz, in particular, was one of those upset parents. She says her worries stem from the fact that her family has a history of alcoholism.

“Their (teenagers’) judgment isn’t always what it should be at this age, which is the reason we step in and say, ‘You cannot buy alcohol until you’re 21.’” Moerz said. “I don’t see any reason to teach a 15 year old the steps in brewing alcohol.”

The Jefferson County released a tempered statement addressing Moerz’s concern in a press release that was issued late Monday.

“The teaching of fermentation or, anaerobic respiration, is a Colorado standard taught in biology classes. Teachers make choices in designing the lesson plans which help students meet those standards. While we value the efforts our teachers make to inspire learning in our students, we will be reviewing the assignment in question.”

In the meantime, Moerz’s daughter and others have now been given alternate assignments upon request.