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Parents outraged at slavery-simulation game in Phoenix school

October 12, 2017
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A summary of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Humanities funded Misson US says it “immerses players in rich, historical settings” and “empowers them to make choices that illuminate how ordinary people experienced the past,” but some parents and advocates are saying it trivializes the most violent history the world has experienced.

One of it’s simulations, Mission US: Flight to Freedom has students play as 14-year-old Lucy King, an enslaved girl trying to escape a plantation, in a choose-your-own adventure format. Phoenix Elementary, whose¬†district spokeswoman Sara Bresnahan told USA Today she was not sure how the game made its way to students, implemented the simulation in classrooms before blocking access in response to backlash on Tuesday.

“As a parent and as someone who grew up under civil-rights (movement) members, I couldn’t allow my son to be subjected to that without my permission,” De’Lon Brooks, whose seventh-grader attends Emerson Elementary, a K-8 school, told the paper.

Though Mission US¬†earned several awards after its launch, with educators, students and gamers have offered glowing reviews, Arizona State University African-American literature professor Neal Lester argued, “it’s a horrible idea to move slavery into the realm of gaming,” in an interview with USA Today. “Why does it have to be fun? Slavery wasn’t fun.”

Bresnahan said she agreed with parents’ concerns, and the game is under review after a meeting with local Black Lives Matter activists Tuesday.