Activists want sensitivity training for Oceanside Unified after deportation-themed assignment

Posted at 5:59 PM, Oct 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-09 22:25:24-04

OCEANSIDE, CALIF. (KGTV) - Activists are demanding the Oceanside Unified School District give all its teachers cultural sensitivity training after middle school students turned in a deportation themed board game for a class assignment.

The game was called ‘Deportation Time’ and featured offensive themes about immigration - players had to blow up the border wall in the game to cross over to the U.S.

“The board game issue is disappointing,” said activist Karen Plascencia, “it’s disappointing, but it’s not surprising.” Plascencia is with the Human Right Council of Oceanside.

The HRCO and MEChA de MiraCosta are asking the district for cultural sensitivity training sessions, forums for immigrant families, and to form a committee on ethnic studies.

RELATED: Oceanside middle school students create 'border crossing' game called 'Deportation Time'

“We firmly believe if that teacher had gone to cultural sensitivity training that involves undocumented youth, she wouldn’t have approved of such a cruel and humiliating board game so easily” said Plascencia, “she would have understood that there are students within OUSD that are suffering deportation of their family the family separation that this is affecting students now as we speak.”

OUSD Superintendent Dr. Julie Vitale wrote a statement on the board game saying:

Regarding the Cesar Chavez board game. We know that this topic is divisive and can be painful and hurtful. Here in Oceanside our number one priority is the safety and well-being of our students and staff. At the same time, while there may have been no ill-intention during this project creation, we agree that this project was completed with a lack in judgement. We also believe in maximizing opportunities like this to help our students and staff learn and grow. Our district leadership and this board, has committed to promoting an educational environment that will ensure the elimination of any discrimination in all district activities. Discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion, national origin, ethnic group, marital or parental status, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other unlawful consideration, whether actual or perceived will not be tolerated here in Oceanside Unified School District per Board Policy 0410.1. In a strong effort to better serve our most important mission of supporting all students and providing a safe and welcoming learning environment, we will as a district seek a plan of action to provide training district-wide that will help staff better meet the needs of our culturally diverse community.

Activists plan to speak the the OUSD meeting in Oceanside tonight and the first gathering since the board game was created.