History Lesson Gone Wrong: “How Will You Punish This Slave?”

Wisconsin mom shocked by questions on sixth grade son's school assignment. WMTV's Michelle Baik reports.

(WMTV/NBC News) — A Wisconsin middle school is facing backlash from parents and community members Monday following a history lesson that the district called a “grave error in judgment.”

The assignment was given out to some sixth grade social studies classes at Patrick Marsh Middle School in Sun Prairie, according to an email from principal Rebecca Zahn.

The activity was designed to cover the politics of ancient Mesopotamia and asked students to apply an ancient law called Hammurabi’s Code to different scenarios.

One scenario asked, ”A slave stands before you. This slave has disrespected his master by telling him ‘You are not my master’ How will you punish this slave?”

Dazarrea Ervins said her sixth grade son Zayvion brought her the assignment with a ‘weird look on his face that I’ve never seen before.”

“Just shocked. I couldn’t believe what I was reading,” she said.

“I can see how they’re learning about this era, but the wording of the question and the statement—it was just wrong,” she continued, noting it was the first day of Black History Month.

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