A mother in South Holland, Illinois, is furious after discovering her daughter participated in a simulated underground railroad game while on an overnight school field trip according, to an ABC 7 Chicago.
Baily Peterson, 11, is a sixth-grader at McKinley Junior High School. In March the school took nearly 70 students to Lake Geneva in Wisconsin for three nights and four days to learn about nature.
Even though Peterson enjoyed the trip she said on the last day the teachers had her participate in a mock underground railroad game.
“I did have fun. It’s just what happened that drove me away from being excited about it,” she said. “They talked to us about how we were runaways, and how our cover story was that we were a singing choir from Georgia called The Peaches.”
The activity lasted nearly two hours. Her mother, Dawn Peterson said: “She was almost nervous to tell me that they felt funny about it because all of the kids were black and the teachers were white.”
The school failed to communicate with parents about the activity. “Couldn’t find anything in any paperwork that stated consent. Not even letting us know there would be a simulation at all, let alone this particular simulation,” Peterson said.
Superintendent Dr. Jerry Jordan said the school has never received a complaint about the activity in the past.
“There’s a perception that we had the kids being chased by white folks at night through the woods. That’s not what took place. It was a night hike,” he said.
“It’s a part of history. A sad part of history that our people had to go through,” Jordan said. “I think bringing something to light for the children, it helped them better understand what our foreparents went through.”
Moving forward Jordan said the school will look for better ways to communicate with parents.