When you send you kids to school, you are expecting your kids to be educated on many topics. History is one subject that teaches kids about what happened during the generation before they were even born -- or longer. In this case a middle school teacher who’s just doing his job ends up being suspended for showing a video about what was happening in the entertainment world in the 19th century … when white actors wore blackface to portray black characters.
Today, Yahoo news reports that Alan Barron, a 59-year-old middle school history teacher in a small-town southeastern Michigan, was placed on paid administrative leave. Reason for the suspension? He was teaching his students about past stereotypes, when white actors painted their faces black to imitate black people. By showing the video about the matter to his eighth grade students, the assistant principal of the school observed the subject of the day racial segregation laws which was related during the Jim Crow era; the video was included within the lesson, and Barron was asked to turn it off.
According to reports, parents were outraged about the incident of suspending Barron for teaching what had actually happened during the time period. The assistant principal felt that Barron’s lesson about how entertainers used to be racist was itself racist. While one parent felt differently.
“It had nothing to do with racism,” Adrienne Aaron said who has a daughter in the class. “History is history. We need to educate our kids to see how far we’ve come in America. How is that racism?”
The parent also added that Barron is one of the best teachers they had and could not believe that this is taken place. School district spokesman, Bob Vergiels, had expressed and refusing to say that Barron was suspended. Instead, Vergiels simply states that he is “on leave.”
“Mr. Barron has been on leave for about a week while we look into a reported situation in his classroom,” the school district statement reads. “Because this is a personnel matter that is going through the teacher-contract required steps, we cannot comment any further.”
The 59-year-old teacher has been teaching within the local school district for a little more than three decades and was slated to retire in just two weeks before the incident took place. The truth the matter is, there is nothing wrong about teaching about stereotypes and what happened in the past when it contains the matter of white entertainers wore blackface. After all, it is considered history.