San Diego

Deportation-Themed Board Game Raises Concerns at Oceanside Middle School

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

A board game called "Deportation Time" that was created by students at a North County San Diego middle school has sparked a backlash from some students and parents.

Four seventh- and eighth-grade students at César Chávez Middle School in Oceanside created the game as part of a class project that asked students to design a game themselves.

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. 

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

The project "was intended to develop collaboration, decision-making and learning to divide workload," Superintendent Dr. Julie Vitale said in a statement from the Oceanside Unified School District. 

Santiago told Telemundo 20 her son raised concerns the game was racist, yet the teacher still approved the project.

In her statement, Vitale didn't address the parent's claim but said, "while their intention may have been to leverage a current event, we believe it is our responsibility as educators to help them understand that the theme is potentially painful and hurtful to many people."

The family of each student has been contacted and the district is using the incident to teach students, "an important life lesson" about "unintended consequences," OUSD said. 

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