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Gym teacher tells black kids to re-enact ‘slave games’ in class, Wisconsin school says

A WIsconsin school saya a gym teacher has been put on leave after instructing some black children to re-enact “slave games” during a class activity on games from around the world. Some parents objected.
A WIsconsin school saya a gym teacher has been put on leave after instructing some black children to re-enact “slave games” during a class activity on games from around the world. Some parents objected. Screengrab from WITI video

MaHailey Stephens says she and another African American child didn’t know what to think when their gym teacher told them to research “slave games” during a class activity on games around the world, WDJT reported.

“Me and the other black child just looked at each other confused like, ‘Did she really just say that?’ ” said MaHailey, who attends Shorewood Intermediate School in Wisconsin, according to the station. The teacher had split up the class by race for the project.

“I went to my mom, I’m like, ‘Mom, what are slave games?’ ” the seventh-grader said, WITI reported.

“I’ve never heard of such a thing,” said mom Reshunda Stephens, according to the station. “I never knew slaves had opportunities to play games.”

An April 11 letter to parents from Superintendent Bryan Davis says the gym teacher has been placed on leave while the district investigates the April 1 incident, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

“We are committed to providing an environment of inclusion in our schools,” the letter reads, WGNO reported. “We will continue to assess the situation and ensure that we provide ongoing support to our students as we move forward.”

The letter says the district takes the matter extremely seriously and says school officials have been providing support to the students involved, according to the station.

Other children in the class overheard the instructions about “slave games” and reported also being uncomfortable, WITI reported.

“It’s not fair for our children to have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable,” Reshunda Stephens said, WDJT reported.

Rev. Alfonza Seldon, president of the Phenix City-Russell County NAACP, called Monday afternoon for the Phenix City School District to discipline several young men allegedly making racist chants in a video recently published on social media.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.


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