A “privilege test” was given to 150 eighth-grade students at a Wisconsin public school in December and consisted of 55 statements participants checked off
Teachers at Badger Middle School in West Bend wanted to start a conversation about privilege after students read the classic book “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which deals with racism in the Jim Crow South, the district told WITI-TV.
“For a lot of children, they don’t even understand what most of it means,” Kim Goldman told WITI, noting that her seventh-grade daughter didn’t receive the test but knows all about it because of the controversy at the school.
Other statements on the “privilege test” included “I have never tried to hide my sexuality,” “I have never been called a terrorist” and “I have never been catcalled,” WITI reported.
“My child doesn’t know what that means, and she’s 13,” Goldman added to the station. “This is the age they’re teaching it? She doesn’t know what being catcalled means.”
WITI noted that an upset parent called West Bend police about the “privilege test.” A police spokesman confirmed to WITI that the call occurred but that police told the caller it was a school district matter.
“Some of the language in the questionnaire I can see why, as a parent of a 13, 14-year-old eighth grader, some people may feel as though those are topics that should be discussed in the home and not the classroom,” Badger Middle School Principal Dave Uelmen told the station.
Following the controversy, the district decided to stop administering the “privilege test,” but officials told WITI they stand behind the test’s core ideas.
“If we want our students to be successful when they go out into their careers in the future, they have to understand that not everyone is like them,” Assistant Superintendent Laura Jackson told the station.