Home Madison Three Sun Prairie teachers resign following investigation into offensive assignment

Three Sun Prairie teachers resign following investigation into offensive assignment


Three teachers at Patrick Marsh Middle School in Sun Prairie will remain on paid administrative leave until the end of the school year and then resign after an investigation found that they violated district policies when as assignment asked students how they would punish a slave.

The results of the two-month investigation by attorney Lori Lubinsky were released late Tuesday and outlined in a YouTube video.

The controversy began on February 1, the first day of Black History Month, when sixth-grade students at Patrick Marsh Middle School were asked, in a social studies assignment, to imagine how they would “punish” a “disrespectful” slave.

The district placed the three teachers on leave immediately pending the outcome of an independent investigation, which they hired Lubinsky, of the Waukesha-based firm Axley Attorneys, to do.

Lubinsky found that the question was not part of district-approved curriculum and likely came from a teaching resource sharing website called Teachers Pay Teachers. The lesson has since been removed from that site. Lubinsky said all three teachers acknowledged, upon reflection, that the question was inappropriate.

“Unfortunately, they could not provide any credible or realistic explanation for why they did not consider the impropriety of the lessons and the questions prior to actually giving the lessons to students,” Lubinsky said in the video describing the conclusions of her investigation.

“The activity is inconsistent with the District’s approved Curriculum. It is inconsistent with the District’s Equity Framework. It is also inconsistent with the many training opportunities that District staff have been afforded that address racial equity,” Lubinsky wrote in a memo shared with school district families.

Lubinsky said that after speaking with the teachers and their representatives, the teachers would be allowed to resign, and all three have decided to do so. They will remain on paid leave until the end of the year but will not return to the district.

Superintendent Brad Saron said these teachers leaving the district is not the end of the district’s response.

Saron said the district is on track to fulfill the promise it made on February 8 to hire a full-time equity director by July 1. He said the district has partnered with the Courageous Conversation Foundation to convene community healing circles, which will happen in June and July, and work with the community to perform an equity audit.

District staff previously said a partnership had also been struck with the YWCA, but later admitted no such partnership had been agreed to.

Madison365 has reached out to several Sun Prairie School District parents and will update this story with their reactions if they respond.