One of its 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.