A Michigan high school is under fire for a class project that involved students wearing Ku Klux Klan robes, Raw Story reports.
The incident spread through social media like wildfire last week after a photo of a student dressed as a KKK member began circulating the Internet.
The school attempted to do some damage control by explaining in a statement that the wardrobe was a part of a project for a history lesson meant to explore, “topics related to racism.”
“As part of their in class skit, they included props and costumes set during specific decades,” the statement said. “The inclusion of these props and costumes was highly inappropriate and insensitive. An investigation into the approval process for the skits and related classroom oversight is underway.”
The statement basically took the blame away from the school as an entity and placed it upon the teacher or instructor who approved the outfits: “Niles Community Schools and Niles High School understands the extreme sensitivity around this issue and does not condone or support this type of reenactment,” the statement reads.
The teacher who approved the costume reportedly said he was upset about all the backlash the project had received; however, it’s highly unlikely that he was oblivious to the possibility that this stunt would spark outrage.
While the teacher bears the brunt of the responsibility, the student(s) who agreed to wear the attire and the parents who allowed their children to walk out of the house wearing it should also be condemned.
Parents and students should have questioned the teacher’s intentions or expressed some contention about how others would respond to seeing kids representing a notorious hate group.
There may not have been any malicious intent behind the project, but regardless, it’s problematic to normalize hate by encouraging students to memorialize a shameful history in such a way.
Thousands of students throughout the country learn and retain the history of racism in America without having to dress as a KKK member, so justifying this project is virtually impossible.
Rather than being “upset,” the teacher should feel ashamed. As an educator responsible for molding the minds of today’s youth, he should have known better.
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