Cobb County

Parents say school slavery game is demeaning

MARIETTA, Ga. — A slavery educational activity game is no longer part of the lesson plan at a Cobb County school.

The teacher responsible is now facing disciplinary action.

Channel 2’s Tom Regan spoke with the grandmother of one child who said she felt demeaned by the game.

The teacher who conducted this interactive learning activity says she was simply doing it to try to engage her fifth-grade students in the history of slavery and the Underground Railroad.


But it apparently had some unintended consequences.

Delores Bunch-Keemer knew something was wrong when her 10-year-old granddaughter came home from Cheatham Elementary Tuesday afternoon.

“She was very concerned. I could see the expression on her face," Bunch-Keemer told Regan.

The girl and her classmates were playing an interactive game taking the role of slaves trying to escape a plantation and find freedom on the Underground Railroad.

A role of dice directed their path, escaping into the woods or getting sent back to the plantation.

Delores said her granddaughter wound up back at the plantation several times, and in one instance, “When going back to the plantation her teacher said they would be beaten cause they didn't like their work."

The teacher may have been trying make a dramatic point about the suffering imposed on slaves, but Bunch-Keemer said her granddaughter took it another way.

It didn’t help that she's the only African-American girl in the classroom.%



“She said she went back to the plantation six times, so that consistent feeling of being degraded, and I have to be beaten when I got back to the plantation,” Bunch-Keemer told Regan.

Bunch-Keemer said she went to the elementary school and spoke with the teacher, who told her till now, she had received no complaints about the history simulation game.

She then took it a step further.

“If we did a Holocaust game, and people had to roll the dice if they were going to go in the gas chamber, do you see any similarity in that, and she didn't, that it was wrong,” Bunch-Keemer said.

Regan contacted the Cobb County school district for a response. They sent him a statement saying:

"Cheatham Hill administrators were not aware in advance of the activity. The activity in question was not an approved lesson plan. School officials are taking appropriate personnel action with the teacher.”