‘Demeaning’ Slavery Education Game No Longer Part of Georgia School Lesson Plan

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Screenshot from WSB-TV video showing controversial Underground Railroad simulation game. Image courtesy of WSBTV.
Screenshot from WSB-TV video showing controversial Underground Railroad simulation game. Image courtesy of WSB-TV.

A Georgia school is under fire after one of its teachers introduced her students to a “demeaning” slavery education game about the Underground Railroad.

Delores Bunch-Keemer said her 10-year-old granddaughter was visibly upset after playing an Underground Railroad simulation activity in class at Cheatham Hill Elementary School. According to Atlanta’s WSB-TV news, the young girl and her classmates played the role of enslaved people trying to escape the plantation and reach the Underground Railroad.

Their paths were directed by the roll of dice, as students either escaped further into the woods or were caught and sent back to the plantation.

Bunch-Keemer’s granddaughter, who is the only African-American student in the class, said she was sent back to the plantation several times. The young girl also said her teacher informed her that she would be beaten upon her return to the plantation because she didn’t like the work.

“She said she went back to the plantation six times, so that consistent feeling of being degraded, and I have to be beaten when I got back to the plantation,” Bunch-Keemer told WSB-TV.

The grandmother spoke with the girl’s teacher, who said she had never received any complaints about the history simulation game. In an effort to illustrate why the game was problematic, Bunch-Keemer compared the atrocities of slavery to the Holocaust.

“If we did a Holocaust game, and people had to roll the dice if they were going to go in the gas chamber, do you see any similarity in that?,” Bunch-Keemer said. “And she [still] didn’t see that it was wrong.”

The school has since pulled the controversial game from its lesson plans, WSB-TV reports.

“Cheatham Hill administrators were not aware in advance of the activity,” the Cobb County school district said in the statement. “The activity in question was not an approved lesson plan. School officials are taking appropriate personnel action with the teacher.”

The unnamed teacher faces possible disciplinary action.

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