Jefferson Middle School teacher put on leave after offensive assignment

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MADISON, Wisconsin – A teacher at Jefferson Middle School was put on administrative leave recently after planning a mission that students allegedly found offensive.

Madison Metropolitan School District spokesman Tim LeMonds said in a statement the teacher had planned a “re-enactment” of the Boston Tea Party.

According to LeMonds, a review of the assignment found that the students would assume the identities of various characters, some of whom were stereotypical and caused “racialized harm.”

The assignment was stopped before the reconstitution, and the teacher was put on leave pending further examination.

LeMonds did not specify when the replenishment was awarded or the teacher was put on leave.

You can read the full statement below:

Recently, students at Jefferson Middle School reported that their teacher
The “re-enactment” of the Colonial Tea Party, as part of their history lesson material, included offensive aspects.

After a preliminary examination of the material, the principal of the school quickly
determined that the assignment was not in line with the district’s vision, commitment to equity, cultural sensitivity and was outside the scope of the district curriculum. The assignment was stopped before the reconstitution, and according to district protocol, the teacher
was placed on administrative leave pending further internal review.

The initial review of the assignment revealed that it included students assuming
the identity of a variety of “characters” from the colonial period. Students were asked to assume stereotypical roles that caused racial prejudice.

The district acknowledges how some Jeffersonian students were injured during the
planning process for this replenishment, and recognize that they deserve better. Jefferson management will conduct a comprehensive review of program units with staff to ensure that the lessons and content taught meet district expectations.

As a school district, this serves as a stark reminder that there is much more
work to be done to create diverse spaces where academics can learn acceptance and feel a sense of belonging. MMSD is committed to continuing its journey to become an inclusive and anti-racist school district where every student is empowered to make a
contributions to the world.


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