A sixth-grade teacher in Minnesota recently offered her charges a lesson in “oppression” when she separated them into groups dubbed “privileged” and “targeted.”
According to documents obtained by The Blaze.com, Sunrise Park Middle School teacher Odelis Anderson prefaced the lesson by reminding students it is easier for the privileged to talk about race, while “much harder” for those who are not.
Students then were asked to consider what group they belonged to based on five types of oppression: racism, sexism, religious oppression, heterosexism, and xenophobia. Among the “privileged”: whites, men, Christians and heterosexuals.
Sunrise Park and its parent district, White Bear Lake Area Schools, confirmed the lesson with The Blaze. District Director of Communications Marisa Vette said the lesson was “to help students understand that everyone is different and everyone experiences the world differently.”
Vette said such “social-emotional lessons” typically take place during homeroom “a couple times a week.” However, with schools still engaged in virtual learning, teachers — not just Anderson — have taught the lessons during their first period classes.
“It is our responsibility to ensure that each of our students’ needs are being met,” Superintendent Wayne Kazmierczak said in a statement. “We know from listening to our students that our continued and sustained commitment to educational equity is a critical part of how we achieve our stated district mission and close gaps that currently exist in our student outcome measures.”
Indeed, equity is the basis upon which Sunrise Park Dean of Students Hala Asamarai “help[s] students succeed” and “feel welcome and safe,” according to her school bio.
White Bear Lake’s “Equity Commitment” states that in order to “nurture the whole student, [it] disrupts systemic inequities by recognizing, honoring, and embracing all cultures with humility and respect.” Its July Equity Audit Report to the school board highlights the Julian Bond quote “Violence is Black children going to school for 12 years receiving 6 years worth of education.”
Sunrise Park’s demographics closely mirror those of the US as a whole, according to Great Schools.org.
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