When a 10-year-old girl needed help with her math homework, she sought assistance from an unlikely source — her local police department.
“I’m having trouble with my homework. Could you help me?” Lena Draper wrote in a Facebook message to the Marion, Ohio Police Department.
The department responded, and — surprise, surprise — it had answers
The first equation: (8+29)x15.
“Do the numbers in the parenthesis first so in essence it would be 37 x 15,” the department replied.
Then a second problem: (90+27) + (29+15)x2
“Take the answer from the first parenthesis plus the answer from the second parenthesis and multiply that answer times two,” the department wrote. “Work left to right doing the work inside the parenthesis first.”
The young student’s mother, Molly Draper, posted screenshots of the exchange on Facebook soon after learning what her daughter had done.
“My daughter. Cause… she’s my daughter,” Draper wrote. “Thank you, Marion, Ohio Police Department, for truly building relationships with the community.”
As some were quick to note, however, the department solved the second equation inaccurately.
Using the order of operations, the problem is actually solved by adding the numbers in parentheses first, multiplying the second sum by two and adding that total to the sum of the numbers in the first parentheses.
“Hoping it is truly the thought that counts since apparently I cannot! Especially since the answer was wrong, it was very nice for Molly to acknowledge our attempt to help her daughter with some math homework,” the department wrote on its Facebook page. “We do aim to be a full service police department after all. Have to say this is the first time we have been asked by a young Facebook follower to help with homework through messenger but hey, we SERVE and protect. Maybe should have mentioned that History was my favorite subject before answering. Well, we know now!”
The officer writing on the department's page wondered what made the child call on them for help with her homework, saying it wasn’t unheard of “but still pretty rare.”
“The fact that this particular problem (third grade math) was over our head was not the important part,” the department wrote. “What's important is that an environment has been created in this community, quite deliberately that nurtures a sense of connection and belonging and trust. Because those things exist, this rather popular Facebook post was able to happen.”