A southern Missouri school district has suspended a history teacher who allowed a ninth-grader to dress as a Ku Klux Klan member for their class presentation.
A photo of the student sat wearing the white hooded robes in American History class went viral after an outraged recent graduate who spotted it on Snapchat and shared it on her Facebook page.
‘How in the actual f**k is this okay??’ the Poplar Bluff High alum wondered in a post. ‘There’s no excuse for this kind of ignorance. I’m so ashamed of this and I’m not even a student there anymore.’
It’s unclear if the teacher directed the student to dress as a Klansman. The district says it doesn’t believe the ninth-grader who put on the offensive costume was acting with discriminatory intent.
This photo showing a ninth-grade student in Missouri dressed as a Klansman during a class presentation resulted in the suspension of a history teacher
Education officials said the incident took place while students at Poplar Bluff High School were studying the 15th Amendment, which awarded voting rights to black men
The Friday class the student had dressed up for had discussed organizations that engaged in voter suppression, during a wider talk about the 15th Amendment, which awarded voting rights to black men, reported the Springfield News-Leader.
The teacher who supervised the class, who has not been named by the school citing privacy concerns, has since been suspended.
Poplar Bluff district superintendent Scott Dill even visited the class Monday to read the suspended teacher’s letter of apology.
A recent graduate of the school shared a photo of the student dressed in a white hooded robe, which was taken by someone who was present in the classroom
‘There’s no context for this,’ Dr Dill, the superintendent, said of the costume choice in an interview with KFVS12. ‘There’s no point at which anyone in our public school system is going to say that this is okay.
‘It is very obvious that this can’t happen in any setting anywhere, and so we will do our best to ensure that we do what we do best, which is education.’
In the apology letter addressed to students, parents staff and the town’s community, the unnamed history teacher at the center of the firestorm expressed regret ‘for the pain and negative attention’ caused by what the educator described as a ‘lapse in judgement.’
‘I made a mistake on Friday during our skit assignment,’ the missive stated. ‘I let a student wear an inappropriate costume that was unacceptable and hurt many people’s feelings.
‘As the professional in the room, I should have known better. I am sorry.’
According to records, 85 per cent of Poplar Bluff High School’s student population is white. Just under 11 per cent of the 1,480 students enrolled at the school are African-American and 2.5 per cent are Hispanic.