‘Privilege Bingo’ in Fairfax Co. class meets controversy for including being a military child – NBC4 Washington
A controversial assignment to a public school class in Fairfax County, Va., required students to play ‘privilege bingo’ – but one of the criteria for privilege was being from a military family, which which some people found upsetting.
The assignment, which was set in a high school English class, had boxes for characteristics such as being white, Christian, male, and able-bodied to determine whether the candidate was considered “privileged.” There was also a box for being a military child.
A local war veteran tells us she was shocked to see him.
“I’ve always considered being a military kid to be a harder thing,” said Army veteran Rebecca Brinker. “Children are definitely affected by the absence of their parents.”
Brinker and her husband both served in the military. She says her husband was often deployed and even missed the birth of their son. This son just graduated from Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS).
“The fact that they want military kids to feel embarrassed about being military kids, whether they’re privileged or it’s something they shouldn’t want to be or be ashamed of, that’s very upsetting for me,” Brinker said. .
The bingo card attracted widespread attention on social media, including a tweet from Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity.
“I wasn’t very happy. The lesson is divisive and clearly offensive, especially to our military families,” said Herrity (R), Fairfax County Supervisor for the Springfield District.
FCPS tells News4 that they have since reviewed the activity and said, “We apologize for any offense it may have unintentionally caused. FCPS remains committed to equipping students with the skills to recognize multiple perspectives, analyze biases, and examine privilege as 21st century learners. .”
They also said, “FCPS recognizes and honors the experiences of all of our families, including those serving our country in the military.”
An education expert told News4 that she had given many lessons about privilege but had never considered “military child” as a criterion.
“We know that when a parent is in the military, there’s a certain danger; there’s a certain stress that comes with it,” said Kaye Wise Whitehead, a professor at Loyola University.
She also said that the format of a lesson is important.
“I believe students should have discussions about privilege,” Whitehead said. “I tend not to trivialize it as a game; I think these are very difficult questions.