By Ana Gomez Salcido
Recently, Oceanside Unified School District (OUSD) students at Cesar Chavez Middle School were allowed to create a board game on migration as part of a class project that was approved by an OUSD teacher that the community considered as cruel, hurtful, and humiliating.
This board game called “Deportation Time”, consisted of student players competing against each other to cross the U.S. border and reach a U.S. flag, while deporting each other during the game. The format of the board game makes serious issues, such as historically racist policies, appear apolitical and entertaining while simultaneously making a mockery out of the social conditions that migrant working families face in the community.
Many children in the Oceanside district come from mixed status families and have been hurt by the policies and practices that tear apart families and separates children from their parents by forceful physical removal from the communities in which they live.
According to members from the Human Rights Council of Oceanside (HRCO), MEChA de MiraCosta College, and other community members, this board game reinforces a culture of competition instead of solidarity and teaching teamwork, makes white supremacist political practices and policies seem humorous and innocent.
“The community sees this game as part of a systematic problem, there is a record of other incidents. Many of the HRCO members were OUSD students and we want to know what is this school district doing for the community,” said HRCO member, Karen Plascencia to La Prensa San Diego. “We don’t have anything against the teacher, or anything against the board game, we see this situation as a bigger problem.”
A group of community members went to the OUSD board meeting held last week, and asked for five demands so there isn’t another situation similar to the creation of “Deportation Time.”
The demands include staff development in the form of an annual mandatory Cultural Sensitivity Training for all OUSD teachers to be implemented, and provided by a non-profit organization. Another demand is that the superintendent must hold an annual public forum where the community can participate in open dialogue.
Also, all agendas and board meeting minutes must be provided in Spanish in conjunction with the release of the general agenda and minutes, with board meeting interpreters proficient in Spanish.
The demands also include a teacher committee on ethnic studies to be formed under the initial guidance of consultants recommended by the Statewide Ethnic Studies Now Coalition.
Lastly, the demands include that Know Your Rights informational forums are held on OUSD campuses to be advertised to all OUSD families, prioritizing those directly impacted by this issue in conjunction with programs like ELD and Migration Education.
HRCO, MECha de Miracosta, and other community members will gather with OUSD superintendent to talk about the five demands, on Monday, Oct. 29.