Underground Railroad simulation raises parents’ concerns

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HOLLAND, Ill. – Parents of some sixth-graders in suburban Chicago say they’re outraged a school field trip to southeastern Wisconsin included a re-enactment of the Underground Railroad.

The Chicago Tribune reports that McKinley Junior High School students took a four-day trip to the Nature’s Classroom Institute in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. One activity involved students acting as runaway slaves while teachers and staff portrayed Underground Railroad guides, sheriffs and bounty hunters.

Dawn Peterson of South Holland says her daughter found the simulation scary. She says race played a troubling role in the dynamic because the majority of students were African-American, while almost all of the teachers were white.

Parent Davenia Clark says her daughter came home with a better understanding of history.

The school board is still reviewing complaints and declined to comment.
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Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com

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