Shorewood teacher on leave after black students say they were told to research ‘slave games’
SHOREWOOD, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A teacher at Shorewood Intermediate School has been placed on leave after allegations of a racist incident during a class last week.
The superintendent, Bryan Davis, said in a statement that during an activity on the subject of games from around the world, “allegations were made that the teacher had suggested to African American students in the class that they research games that had been played by enslaved children.”
MaHailey Stephens is a black student who was in the class. She says the teacher sorted the students by culture, meaning she was separated with the black children.
“She told us to look up traditional African American games and traditional slave games,” Stephens said. “Me and the other black child just looked at each other confused like ‘Did she really just say that?’”
The assignment alarmed and disturbed MaHailey’s mother Reshunda.
"We do have excellent teachers in our district but we also have some mindsets that we need to challenge,” Reshunda said. “We have some fixed mindsets that are in a different era where it should no longer be tolerated."
While the district investigates, Davis says counseling has been provided to students who were directly involved in the incident.
Also in his statement, he said, “We take these allegations extremely seriously. Throughout this situation, student safety and well-being have been our top priority...We are committed to providing an environment of inclusion in our schools.”
Reshunda thinks the district can work harder at building inclusion through professional development or cultural sensitivity training.
"It's not fair for our children to have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable,” Reshunda said.
Reshunda says the same teacher has racially discriminated against another one of her daughters in the past.