Alan Barron, a teacher in Michigan, has been removed from his classroom for showing a video of how white entertainers once used black face paint to imitate black people, according to an ABC News report on Saturday. Barron, 59, teaches in a public school in the southeastern portion of Michigan. He has been removed from his teaching assignment while school district officials analyze his lesson plan on African-American history and racial segregation laws to determine whether or not his lessons were appropriate.
Monroe Middle School is where Barron was put on paid leave approximately two weeks ago after he showed an eighth-grade class the video. Reportedly, an assistant principal sat in on the history class in which the teacher showed the video. During the same class, the teacher discussed Jim Crow laws.
Barron is also a supervisor of Monroe Township. Monroe Township is located some 35 miles southwest of Detroit. The history teacher is expected to retire this school year after having been in the district for 36 years. As a portion of his suspension from the school, Barron is not allowed to attend a retirement banquet or any other school district functions.
Adrienne Aaron, a parent of one of Barron’s students, spoke publicly about the suspension of the teacher. She said, according to Monroe News, that the teacher was simply teaching history. She said that racial segregation is a subject that should be discussed with students while asserting that racism had nothing to do with the lesson. She said, “We need to educate our kids to see how far we’ve come in America. How is that racism?”
The parent stated that it is so sad that this has happened to him because he is one of the best teachers the students have had in the school. Other persons associated with the school are showing support for the teacher as well. Some have taken to Facebook by writing such things as “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.”
All that the school district would say about the history teacher being on leave is that Barron has been on leave. The stated that he has been on leave while the reported situation in his classroom is looked into. As per usual in such instances, the district claims that they cannot comment any further on the story because it is a personnel matter that is going through the teacher-contract required steps.