A Michigan American history teacher two week from retirement has been suspended, apparently for doing his job too well.
According to the Monroe News, Alan Barron, a teacher at Monroe Middle School was put on leave after an assistant principal monitored a class Barron was teaching about the Jim Crow. During the lesson, he showed a video of whites wearing blackface to show students how racism penetrated the entertainment of the 1800s.
The assistant principal found the lesson offensive, according to the News, and Barron was suspended the day afterward. His case is under investigation, school officials told the News.
So an administrator parachuting into the class for the day was offended. The students apparently weren’t.
The teacher was suspended.
“It had nothing to do with racism,” parent Adrienne Aaron told the News. “History is history. We need to educate our kids to see how far we’ve come in America. How is that racism?”
She said her daughter was more offended that the video was stopped than by anything Barron was teaching.
School district officials declined to talk about Barron’s suspension, saying it was an internal personnel matter, according to the News.
Barron, 59, and a teacher for 36 years, declined to comment. The incident occurred about two weeks ago, the News reported. Barron is due to retire this year.
But students and parents have rallied to the educator’s defense.
“Mr. Barron is one of the … great teachers we have in Monroe Public Schools,” one parent wrote on Facebook.
“He has changed many children’s lives over the course of his career. If Mr. Barron felt that he was teaching something that was offensive, he would most definitely not have done it.”
In the world of 2014 America – the “post-racial America” Barack Obama’s presidency was supposed to usher in – anything and everything can be “offensive.”
Including, apparently, the truths of history.
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