Many are defending a teacher’s decision to allow two students to dress in Ku Klux Klan costumes during a classroom presentation on U.S. history.
The Clark County School District in Las Vegas began an investigation after one of the students was photographed wearing the white robe and hooded mask at school outside class on Jan. 9, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
The photo apparently spread via social media and came to the attention of many students and concerned parents who complained to school officials.
On Jan. 11, the principal of Las Vegas Academy sent a letter to parents addressing the “unfortunate” incident.
"While the presentation was designed to highlight the atrocities committed by the Klan, and there was no intention to harm or offend on the part of the students, it was in poor judgment and inappropriate for students to go to such lengths to convey their message," Principal Scott Walker wrote.
The teacher and student in question remain anonymous, as district communications officer, Amanda Fulkerson referred to the issue as “a personnel matter,” however several representatives stood up for the teacher during a school board meeting Thursday, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
"This teacher has my support," she said. "I truly do believe the teacher meant no harm," said Clark County School Trustee Linda Young.
Esther Langston, a University of Nevada, Las Vegas, professor emeritus with the Delta Sigma Theta black sorority and educational organization agreed, saying that academic freedom and educational creativity are necessary for teacher.
However, some feel that it was only the student that made a misstep.
"A student made an unfortunate decision (to wear his KKK costume outside of class) and the teacher should not be held responsible for it," said Las Vegas Academy senior Cody Cris.
According to the Sun, neither the teacher nor student has faced disciplinary action.
Las Vegas Academy has faced similar controversy in the past. The school received public attention after N-word was used during a school production of "Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."
The teacher in question also notably allowed students to dress as Adolf Hitler in other assignments, according to the Sun.
Fionna Agomuoh is a Technology Reporter for the International Business Times, a vegan foodie, and a lover of Electric Dance Music.