A Michigan middle school teacher has been suspended for two weeks for including a video of white people in blackface in his lesson on Jim Crow laws and segregation.
Monroe Middle School teacher Alan Barron, 59, was placed on administrative leave with just two weeks to go before he retires after 36 years in the district, the Monroe Evening News reported.
An administrator who sat in on Barron's lesson on segregation laws said he found the lesson plan offensive and racist.
Parents and students have rallied around Barron, with one student making and distributing T-shirts and parents initiating a social media campaign.
“Mr. Barron is one of the ... great teachers we have in Monroe Public Schools,” a 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.”
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Adrienne Aaron said her daughter, who is in Barron's class, did not find the lesson offensive.
“She was more offended that they stopped the video,” Aaron told the newspaper. “It had nothing to do with racism. History is history. We need to educate our kids to see how far we’ve come in America. How is that racism?”
Aaron called the situation sad.
“He’s one of the best teachers we’ve had. We can’t believe that this is happening,” she said.