Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Andover Middle School displays a student-made "KKK board game" during Open House

Yesterday, I received an email from a parent in Andover Kansas, which is a small town north of Wichita. She had attended an open house at her children's school and saw a "KKK board game", created by one of the students, on display. Her letter was poignant and in a few short words she crystallized the problem with such callous displays and assignments...

I decided to present her letter and pictures here for public perusal and comment.

Dear Mr.Myles,

I am a parent of a 7th grader at Andover Middle School. On Thursday March 26, 2009, my children and I attended an open house. One of the displays was a set of "games" the students created using the topic of their research paper. This particular student's topic was the KKK. I was so appalled that I had to take pictures of it.

I wish they understood that it is not just "our" history but it is also theirs. And mocking and belittling what happened in our past (even if it's not intentional) is not acceptable.

XXXXX X. XXXXX  (name is redacted)

May God Bless and Keep You Everyday!

Now we as a Branch will contact the school and work through the issue; but this is 2009, at some point this must change... Given that this was a middle school, you could surmise that the student who created the "game" was probably between 12 and 14. So while it is distrurbing that he or she may have thought this appropriate, the problem is not the student, the failure clearly rests with the school.  They should have challenged the students thinking, they should have corrected him or her and explained why this was inappropriate, they should have taken advantage of that "teachable moment" and helped the student understand the real lessons of history.  But to the contrary, they chose to reinforce the students cultural and historical myopia by displaying the "game" at a public forum, an Open House, to be 'appreciated' as something representative of their body of work. I'll keep you all posted as this unfolds...

But in the meantime, please feel free to post a comment below and share your thoughts...

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