Wisconsin teachers suspended over assignment asking students how to 'punish' slaves
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Several teachers at a Wisconsin middle school have been suspended after giving students an assignment asking how they would "punish" a slave.

The social studies assignment was given to sixth grade students at Patrick Marsh Middle School in Sun Prairie, Wisc., according to multiple reports. School officials apologized for a “grave error in judgment” in an email to parents and said multiple teachers have been placed on administrative leave. 

The officials did not immediately confirm how many teachers have been placed on administrative leave.


The lesson was about laws established by King Hammurabi in ancient Mesopotamia, according to multiple reports. It included a question that stated, “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?” 

Patrick Marsh Middle School Principal Rebecca Zahn issued a joint statement with Associate Principal Amy Schernecker apologizing that the assignment was not “racially conscious.”

“Our intent missed the mark, and for that we are deeply sorry,” the statement said, according to multiple reports. “Going forward we will be sure to think critically about whether our intent matches our impact.”

The Sun Prairie Area School District said that the activity is not part of the district’s curriculum, and it launched an investigation after being made aware of the assignment.

The district is also reviewing its curriculum “with the lens of racial trauma and curriculum violence,” NBC News reported.

The lesson plan was obtained from Teachers Pay Teachers, a site where educators can purchase and share resources. The organization said in a statement to The Hill that it removed the assignment as soon as it became aware of it and that "Racist or offensive material is strictly prohibited."

The site called the lesson "unacceptable, inappropriate, and antithetical" to its values.

The Hill has reached out to the Sun Prairie Area School District for comment.

Updated at 6:30 p.m.