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1250 West Broadway

Minneapolis, Minnesota 55411-2533

Michael Goar
Interim Superintendent of Schools

Phone: 612.668.0200
Fax: 612.668.0195

March 2, 2015

Dear Mr. Stewart,
We appreciate hearing your inquiry regarding Mission 2: Flight for Freedom, an interactive online game
that teaches students about the experiences of slaves in the mid-1800s. The game is not part of the social
studies curriculum resources provided to staff by Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS). Individual
teachers supplement curriculum with resources that best meet their students’ needs, abilities and
interests. Because teachers identify supplemental resources to be used to support instruction and student
learning, it is possible that it has been used in some classrooms.
MPS follows state social studies standards by teaching about the enslavement of African people in the
United States. Teachers facilitate learning about the historical experiences of enslaved people in their
classrooms as part of these standards. We expect teachers to provide the appropriate context and
guidance for all students during lessons that address sensitive content.
A group comprised primarily of African-American educators from MPS’ Teaching and Learning
Department, Equity and Diversity, the University of Minnesota, MMEP and the Minnesota History
Center met on Monday, Feb. 23, to continue work on developing our ethnic studies courses. We asked
them to review the simulation, and they provided the following assessment:
“While we recognize the intent of the simulation game, we believe many of the intended
historical and sociological questions posed by the game will cause more confusion, alienation
and even anger among students. Much of it has to do with the lack of real historical events, as
well as the reception of the game by young audiences. We noted that the choices of the episodes
and dialogues of the characters in the game were not always clear, with one of many results
being trivialization. The use of this simulation game runs the risk being misunderstood and
insensitive at the least and disrespectful and racist at the most.”
As a result, we will recommend against use of this resource in MPS and will communicate this
recommendation to all MPS social studies teachers.
MPS Policies 6250 and 6260, along with the accompanying regulations, address academic freedom and
controversial issues in the schools. MPS expects that curricular materials comply with the school
district’s polices on harassment and discrimination.

Chris Stewart
Page 2
March 2, 2015

When a school receives a complaint regarding learning materials, we follow the procedures outlined in
Regulation 6260A to reach a resolution. The first step in this process is for the parent or interested
citizen to inform the school principal of the concern. The principal should arrange a conference between
the complainant and appropriate school personnel. The complainant must follow the procedures outlined
below:
1. Notification will be given the school concerning the nature of the proposed conference, citing the
teaching learning materials under question and listing the names of the parents or other visitors who
wish to attend.
2. The appointment will be confirmed by the teacher. The teacher may choose to have the principal and
other representatives present at the conference.
3. (a) If, after the conference, a parent still questions the use of learning materials for the son or daughter,
the school will excuse the student from using these learning materials and will provide substitutes for
which the student may receive full credit.
(b) If, after the conference, the complainant still questions the use of the learning materials, the
complainant may elect to file a Request for Reconsideration of a Work (Regulation 6260B) and the
procedure would then follow Step 5 through Step 8 of Regulation 6260A.

The full policies and regulations are available for your review on the MPS website at
http://policy.mpls.k12.mn.us.
Again, thank you for sharing your question with us. Please let me know if you have additional questions
or are seeking further information about our policies and regulations related to this issue.
Sincerely,

Michael Goar
Interim Superintendent