San Diego

Community Calls for Accountability After Teachers Approve Deportation-Themed Board Game for Class Project

"This type of game is humiliating," said one parent of a student at the middle school

Oceanside community members aired their frustrations at a Tuesday night board meeting over a deportation-themed board game middle school students submitted for a project.

Four seventh and eighth-grade students at César Chávez Middle School created "Deportation Time" for a class project that asked students to design their own game.

The goal was to be the first player to cross the border into the United States and reach an American flag. Players could deport each other with a dice roll.

The project "was intended to develop collaboration, decision-making and learning to divide workload," Oceanside Unified School District (OUSD) Superintendent Dr. Julie Vitale said in a statement earlier this month.

Community members, angry that the game was approved by a teacher before it was created and upset about the perceived lack of cultural sensitivity at the school, want to know what the district is going to do about it. 

There were more angry meeting attendees than there were people allowed to speak.

Some who did speak called for required cultural sensitivity training courses for teachers and others said the district should install an ethics committee.

“It's not a game. It is like a life or death situation. You are risking your life to come over here and have a better life for your family,” OUSD alum Alexis Flores said.

Dr. Vitale agreed Tuesday and said the district would "seek a plan of action to provide training district-wide that will help staff better meet the needs of our culturally diverse community.”

Her communications director met with community members outside the meeting and assured them a meeting between their group leader and Dr. Vitale will take place.

The district did not discuss whether the teacher who approved the project would be punished.

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