Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Georgia Teacher Put on Leave for Allowing Kids to Dress Up as Aging Democrats

Sure, people are going to be outraged. But why should folks be upset when a teacher re-enacts American history and allows students to impersonate West Virginia Democrat Robert Byrd?
A north Georgia history teacher faces punishment after administrators say she let four students wear Ku Klux Klan-like robes for a historical reenactment.

Lumpkin County Schools superintendent Dewey Moye told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that teacher Catherine Ariemma made a poor decision.

Administrators say four students in Ariemma's advanced placement history class donned Klan-like outfits while filming historical reenactments. Moye says students saw them Thursday and parents of a black student complained.

Moye says Ariemma is on leave with pay.
Ariemma stands by her decision.
“This project was about racism in U.S. history,” Ariemma said. “Not just racism against African Americans, but racism as a whole.”

She said including the Ku Klux Klan was an essential piece.

“You cannot discuss racism without discussing the Klan,” she said. “To do so would be to condone their actions.”

She admitted that she may have made a mistake by letting the students film the Klan reenactment on campus.

“I feel terrible that I have students who feel threatened because of something from my class,” Ariemma told the AJC. “In hindsight, I wouldn’t have had them film that part at school.”

Ariemma is an award-winning teaching. Last year, the Georgia Senate passed a resolution lauding her “dedication to her students and her profession” after she was honored as Lumpkin County High School’s 2009 STAR Teacher. The Student Teacher Achievement Recognition program is sponsored by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Professional Association of Georgia Educators and recognizes teaching excellence.
Kids should certainly be taught about the history of the Klan and its roots within the Democratic Party. What's wrong with that?

Update: Video added via Just a Grunt.

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