The Chicago Syndicate: Parents Complain about 'Mafia' Game at School
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Friday, June 23, 2006

Parents Complain about 'Mafia' Game at School

Some middle-school parents in Raymond said they are outraged that their fifth-graders have been playing a controversial game during school, reported WMUR-TV in Manchester.

The game is called Mafia, and the parents said it has given their children nightmares.

Parent Rae Coppola said she was disturbed to see the homework assignment her 11-year-old daughter was getting ready to turn in for her class at Iber Holmes Gove Middle School in Raymond. Coppola said her daughter's assignment was to list the rules for the game. "There's absolutely nothing fun about killing people and for these children to have to come up with ideas on their own about how to kill people," Coppola said.

According to Wikipedia, Mafia is a party game in which some players are "Mafia members" and others are "honest people." Each team tries to eliminate the other team, with the "honest" group trying to figure out who the Mafia members are.

Toward the beginning of the game, a narrator or moderator usually tells a story about how a player was eliminated, or "killed," by the Mafia.

Coppola said that her daughter was not having fun playing the game."I had noticed her acting weird," she said. "She was up to 11:30 at night. She couldn't sleep, had migraines, had a stomach ache."

Coppola said that after seeing the assignment, she went to the school the next day to complain."I was just absolutely mortified that they're teaching violence in schools," she said. "Teaching starts at home, and I'm trying to teach my child that certain things are not appropriate. I don't even let her watch PG-13 movies."

Coppola met with Principal Caesar Meledandri, who put a stop to the game. She also received a letter from the teacher apologizing, but she said it's not enough. "I want the school to notify the parents, because I know a few of her other friends have been having nightmares and been really upset about it, and parents probably have no idea what's wrong with their kids," she said.

Another mother told the televison station that her daughter was afraid to go to sleep because she was worried she would sleepwalk and act out the game.

Acting Superintendent Michael Shore said that he's looking into the game. "Immediately, with any type of complaint, we would investigate the situation," Shore said. "After the investigation is complete, we would be in a situation where we would consider reprimanding, termination or suspension."

Coppola said she wants the teacher fired. "I send my children to school to learn -- not learn how to play games to kill people, but to learn how to read and do math," she said.

Shore said the investigation should be finished by next week.

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