Oconomowoc High School Holds MLK Day 'White Privilege' Assembly

Updated with the Oconomowoc School District's statement

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, Oconomowoc High School held an all-school assembly focused on white privilege.  According to the District's website:

OHS held an assembly this morning that was largely designed by students around the theme of empathy. Following the assembly, and to build on the theme of empathy, the students engaged in a reflective activity in their Pride homerooms about privilege. They participated in a great conversation as they talked through their thoughts and beliefs about discrimination in the school, community, and beyond.

Several parents contacted News/Talk 1130 WISN, expressing their outrage at what they termed "left-wing politics" in the classroom.  As part of this homeroom discussion, the students were made to fill out a "privilege aptitude test" that asked, among other things, whether "the majority of the staff at my school look like me" and "as a boy I can play with dolls or as a girl I can play with trucks without anyone questioning my choice." 

Participants then had to break into small groups of three to five students and answer follow-up questions about their answers on the privilege test:

After that, students were forced to fill out an "exit card" that asked them to list "two things that you found out makes you privileged" and how students can then "raise awareness about privilege with [their] friends or family."

Oconomowoc School District Superintendent issued a statement on the assembly and assignments:

The assembly and classroom activities that took place on Monday, January 15, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at Oconomowoc High School were initiated by student interest and developed by a committee of staff and students. Assembly topics, music, speakers, and classroom activities were not intended to judge or offend staff or students in any way. The classroom activities that followed the assembly were intended to open a conversation among small student groups. They were not required assignments, nor were they collected by teachers. The District is working to find prudent ways to build understanding of the diversity among people and cultures.

Parents, however, said they thought the school district's actions on Monday amounted to completely inappropriate indoctrination.

"This is a classic example of the school bullying the community," said one parent.  "They're imposing their views about privilege on our kids and we have no say in it whatsoever."

"White privilege" lessons and assignments have been a source of controversy across the country in recent years, with educators insisting that they are a valuable means to making students more aware of racial differences and societal disparities but some parents asserting that they are nothing more than anti-white screeds and amount of liberal social justice indoctrination when students are forced to take them.

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