By Ali Gostanian and Doha Madani

A group of suburban Madison, Wisconsin, middle school teachers are on leave after giving students an assignment that asked them how they would “punish” a slave.

The assignment was given to sixth grade students at Patrick Marsh Middle School for a lesson about a set of laws established by King Hammurabi in ancient Mesopotamia, according to a statement from the school. Principal Rebecca Zahn issued a joint statement with the assistant principal apologizing for the assignment not being “racially conscious.”

“Our intent missed the mark, and for that we are deeply sorry,” the statement said. “Going forward we will be sure to think critically about whether our intent matches our impact.”

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