Phoenix school district pulls plug on computer game that simulates slavery
PHOENIX — A Phoenix school district is blocking an online game that simulated slavery after parents complained about its use in the classroom.
Phoenix Elementary School District officials said they are unsure how the game got into the classroom, but they blocked access to it on Tuesday after meeting with parents.
The game “Mission US: Flight to Freedom” put users into the persona of a 14-year-old girl attempting to escape a Kentucky plantation. Students had to navigate the plantation master’s demands while plotting an escape down a river. If the attempt was unsuccessful, the girl would be sold back into slavery.
De’Lon Brooks told The Arizona Republic that his son, an Emerson Elementary School student, told him about the game last week.
“As a parent and as someone who grew up under civil-rights (movement) members, I couldn’t allow my son to be subjected to that without my permission,” Brooks said.
District spokeswoman Sara Bresnahan said the district is only aware of one seventh-grade classroom that played the game, but they were checking with teachers across the district’s 13 elementary schools.
“My personal opinion is the content should not be used on our schools at all, so I’ll be taking that recommendation to the administration,” Bresnahan told KPHO-TV. “In the meantime the district very quickly pulled all the content.”
The district’s online repository of teaching tools did not include the game, but it did include a similar game about a 14-year-old Jewish girl immigrating to New York from Russia, Bresnahan said.
The creators of the game did immediately respond to The Arizona Republic’s request for comment. An online description of the game stated that it aimed to help students “develop a more personal, memorable, and meaningful connection with complex historical content.”
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