Multiple Teachers Suspended Over ‘How Will You Punish This Slave?’ Activity Question

(Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

Matthew Wearp Contributor
Font Size:

Several teachers at a middle school in Wisconsin were placed on leave following a question which asked a class of sixth-grade students how they would punish a slave, according to CBS Minnesota.

The question was part of a social studies class activity at Patrick Marsh Middle School that sought to educate students about ancient Mesopotamia and Hammurabi’s Code. One of the questions in the assignment asked, “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?” The lesson would then go on to explain the slave’s punishment under Hammurabi’s Code, according to CBS Minnesota.

The middle school’s Principal Rebecca Zahn and Associate Principal Amy Schernecker said that the question was to “help students understand how order was kept in the early civilization, how the laws that were developed, and how unjust they were,” according to Newsweek. (RELATED: Should Chicago Public School Teachers Go Back To School?)

The school also sent out an email apologizing to parents for the “grave error in judgment” and informed them that the teachers had been placed on leave, CBS reported.

In a statement, several of the school’s superintendents apologized for the activity and said that no student should take part in the assignment going forward, according to Newsweek. (RELATED: Fauci: Biden’s School Reopening Plan ‘May Not Happen’)

“We are writing today to apologize for a grave error in judgment that occurred during sixth-grade social studies instruction at Patrick Marsh Middle School. A small group of our teachers developed and used an activity that was neither racially conscious nor aligned to our district mission, vision, values, curriculum, or district equity statement. Once we learned of this activity, we immediately stopped any further teaching of the lesson and promptly began an investigation. In our preliminary findings, we have determined the lesson was not a part of our district curriculum and therefore, no student should participate in or complete the assignment.”