Wis. teacher on leave in probe of ‘slave games’

A seventh-grade teacher in Wisconsin is on leave after allegedly separating students by race and then telling the kids to research games from their culture.

For the black kids, it was “slave games,” according to a seventh grader in Shorewood, Wis., north of Milwaukee.

“I’ve never heard of such a thing. I never knew slaves had opportunities to play games,” Dr. Reshunda Stephens, that student’s parent, told a local TV station.

The school superintendent, in a letter to parents, promises action:

During a recent seventh grade Physical Education class at Shorewood Intermediate School, a teacher shared an activity with students on the subject of games from around the world. After the class on April 1, 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.

The administration became aware of these concerns on April 3. We immediately launched an internal investigation into the matter. We have placed the teacher on leave, pending the findings of the investigation.

We take these allegations extremely serious. Throughout this situation, student safety and well-being have been our top priority. Our school counselor, school psychologist, Dean of Students, and the SIS principal have been providing support to the students who were directly involved in the incident. We wanted to make you aware of this development, and to reiterate that our students and families remain our highest priority.

We are committed to providing an environment of inclusion in our schools. We will continue to assess the situation and ensure that we provide ongoing support to our students as we move forward. If your student has any concerns regarding this situation, please encourage them to contact their school administrators or school counselor.

Jan Zehren, the teacher, has been teaching for 36 years.

“How many more times do people have to feel uncomfortable until change happens?” said Stephens.

Last fall, the school superintendent pulled the plug on “To Kill a Mockingbird” after parents asked that the “N word” be omitted.