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NAACP calls for state review of Sun Prairie schools after controversial assignment

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The NAACP is condemning a racially insensitive assignment at a Sun Prairie middle school and demanding a review of the district's compliance with state standards.

Earlier this month, students at Patrick Marsh Middle School were given an assignment asking them how they would punish a slave who disrespected his master.

The district immediately apologized and said it was not part of the school curriculum. Those involved have been placed on leave as the district investigates.

The NAACP of Dane County released a statement Saturday saying the assignment demonstrates the lack of oversight on topics of race and history in the school's curriculum and its impact on students of color.

In a February 27 News interview about equity in the Madison area, NAACP President Greg Jones used the assignment as an example, highlighting why we still have a way to go to reach true equity in the community.

Jones said solutions put forward by the district don't address how we can best overcome inequities.

"In my opinion, when they talk about hiring an equity coordinator, that is a slap in the face to all of us people who've been fighting for equal opportunity all along," he said. "An equity coordinator ain't the answer. The answer is ingrained training and accountability for those people in the system."

The NAACP says the teachers' error in judgement in choosing the assignment will lead to mistrust in the community.

The organization is claiming the district does not meet state standards for developing an effective staff development plan and curriculum plan.

The NAACP is asking the state Department of Public Instruction to conduct a compliance audit of the Sun Prairie School District.

Since the news of the assignment came out, the district has laid out other plans to make changes toward more equity and inclusivity, including involving community organizations.

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