NAACP of Dane County demands audit of Sun Prairie Area School District after racially insensitive assignment about slavery

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SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. — The NAACP of Dane County is demanding the Department of Public Instruction conduct a compliance audit of the Sun Prairie Area School District in the wake of a racially insensitive homework assignment about slavery.

According to a news release Saturday from the NAACP, the assignment raised three main questions and issues: it demonstrated “the lack of oversight on matters of race and history in the Sun Prairie curriculum, particularly the impact on students of color”; the assignment was “fundamentally racist”; and it was also indicative of a district “not in compliance with State Standards.”

The NAACP has asked the district to complete an investigation to determine how and why the lesson was selected, purchased and evaluated.

Earlier this year, a sixth-grade class at Patrick Marsh Middle School received a virtual assignment with the question: “A slave stands before you. This slave has disrespected his master by telling him ‘You are not my master!’ How will you punish this slave?”

Earlier this month, Sun Prairie Area School District leaders addressed the incident, answering the question many parents have been asking: how did this happen?

District leaders said they are working to engage with the community more, partnering with the YWCA to create “restorative circles” for Patrick Marsh teachers and sixth grade students.

They also committed to developing a system-wide anti-racist culturally responsive instructional framework and, at the request of the African American Parent Network, hiring a district staff member to focus specifically on equity and engagement by July 1 of this year.

The Social Studies committee will also reconvene to review curriculum.

The teachers involved in the incident remain on leave as the investigation is conducted by a third party attorney.  The district plans to update the community on the conclusion of the investigation.