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May 25th, 2010
07:34 AM ET

KKK Robes in Class

For a class project, a Georgia history teacher asked her students to dress-up in costumes and re-enact different historical periods.
Four of the students put on Ku Klux Klan robes.
After students complained – 1 African-American student said he “was scared” – the school began an investigation into the teacher and the assignment.
No findings have been announced yet.

We want to know what you think – should this teacher or these kids be punished?

Post your comments here. Kyra will read some of them on the air in the 10am ET hour of Newsroom.

Filed under: CNN Newsroom • Kyra Phillips
soundoff (150 Responses)
  1. Collin

    The teacher most likely had no idea what the individual students were planning, so the teacher should not be punished. The students however knew about their African American classmates and knew it would upset them and need to be shown that what they did was inappropriate.

    May 25, 2010 at 7:43 am |
  2. emmanuel

    The teacher should have never went that far as to dress some students as KKK members, due to the fact that it is not "history", for it still exists in some states. Moreover, it should be thought as history ,but, what it really is, "racism and a hate crime".

    May 25, 2010 at 7:44 am |
  3. cody

    no they shouldn't be punished it was a historical re-enactment it would be no different than if four african american kids re-enacted a slave uprising and a white student said he was scared. rasism isn't an issue here.

    May 25, 2010 at 7:51 am |
  4. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    I think that the new Texas history books are long overdue .

    May 25, 2010 at 8:02 am |
  5. David Nordé

    The teacher should have set guidelines on the assignment, to avoid this issue. Especially guideline that would not violate student code of conduct. If a student was to dress like Bin Laden, or Hitler, then the student would of been in trouble. The teacher should of rethought his/her methodology.

    May 25, 2010 at 8:02 am |
  6. Okey Moronu

    We will have to wait and see how the teacher handled the situation. Was it turned into a learning moment? The students did nothing wron and should not be punished. I do hope that the students were also asked to speak to the significance of their costume and leasons learned form the period.

    May 25, 2010 at 8:09 am |
  7. Jeremy D from Michigan

    I haven't seen the segment yet – but as long as race wasn't used in the assignment, and the terrible horror that is the KKK was taught, then I don't have a problem with it. I

    May 25, 2010 at 8:12 am |
  8. Sylvester

    Why are we surprised. But this is not about a white & black thing This about cowards. These type of people just want attention.So don't give them what they want. There are white ppl that would give u the shirt off their backs. So stuff like this just unite black & white ppl together more than it seperate us and i love it. And yes they should be punished for their actions. I,m out of here ONE LOVE

    May 25, 2010 at 8:20 am |

    There should be no punishment. If we continue to censor the truth in our history our future will be just as tainted as the stains we're attempting to hide because failing to address the past in a meaningful way only leads to repeated mistakes that could've been prevented had the truth been told.

    May 25, 2010 at 8:21 am |
  10. Terry in Colorado

    Sounds like a good project to get a class involved in history. It also sounds like a tremendous teaching opportunity to have the black students, Catholics, and Jews, voice their fears and objections to the costumes. But then I suppose that in Georgia, teaching a lesson about the negative impact on society of a group that is the epitome of hate groups might be politically incorrect.

    May 25, 2010 at 8:31 am |
  11. Lahn

    This is just another example of some teachers subtly communicating to their black students that black culture does not belong.

    I've known of black children's tag-like play being reported to the counselor as "touching" the other children. Likewise, black kindergarteners' voices characterized as "loud & DISRUPTIVE."(Emphasis added). It's really sad because our children are just growing up like the rest of the children. ALL children deserve to be loved.

    Someone needs to address this tactic.

    May 25, 2010 at 8:35 am |
  12. kate

    I can understand how students and adults would be upset seeing these robed people coming down the hallways. But isn't that a history lesson in itself? The KKK existed to intimidate and strike fear into those who saw them in their ghostly costumes. People in this school should be glad they are only playing a part. Plenty of people saw the KKK in their own back yard or hauling their family members away. Imagine how they felt!
    I think the teacher should have been given a chance to explain the project and its intent. Just because some parts of our US history are shameful and upsetting doesn't mean we should silence anyone who makes reference to these events. How can we learn from our past if we pretend it didn't happen?
    Or can students only study the "nice" historical events?

    May 25, 2010 at 8:39 am |
  13. Karen

    Yes the teacher and the students should be punished. The teacher for doing something so stupid and the students for wearing them outside the class room. The students are old enough to know better.

    May 25, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  14. Crystle

    I think there should be punishment because this was so uncalled for period. Like they say one wrong don't make a right

    May 25, 2010 at 8:59 am |
  15. Kim D

    As long as it is for educational purposes I do not see the problem. We need to learn from our history, not deny it.

    May 25, 2010 at 8:59 am |
  16. Caro

    I think that the project was probably founded in an educational purpose but I cannot imagine and AP teacher that lacked that much common sense to give the project a green light. Also, the fact that they walked into the lunch room in the robes and up to an African-American student is absolutely inexcusable. That, is not the teacher's responsibility but those students should be punished. I went to a high school in South Carolina similar to this one and these students most likely did this to get a reaction and I hope they get enough of a reaction to regret it.

    May 25, 2010 at 8:59 am |
  17. erika w

    i think that the students and the teacher should be punished it doesnt matter if it was a class project or not, they should not had be able to walk around the school like that knowing it was going to start problems.

    the students did it to start issues

    May 25, 2010 at 9:00 am |
  18. Mike

    The teacher should be punished and credentials should be suspended. I find it appalling and unbelievable that an AP History teacher would even consider stepping so close to the line. Considering the fact that many anti-govt groups are still using fear and racism to intimidate, this teacher must have had intent. She is too smart
    to say she used poor judgement.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:00 am |
  19. dale shand

    As a black man, I can see why this would be upsetting at African Americans, however I believe this woman was just plain stupid rather than having evil intentions. She should keep her job but learn her lesson.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:00 am |
  20. Bruce

    Kyra is right that this teacher should have had more sense and sensitivity about this situation, but I think most people, even most good people, are capable of making mistakes that are unique to the totality of their experience and which they can only learn from after having made them. If she doesn't have a history of this sort of thing, I think she should be allowed the chance to show she's learned from the experience.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:01 am |
  21. Heidi

    The kids perhaps should not have taken the lesson outside of the class, but this was part of historical reenactment. Nobody complains when the Civil War reenactors dress in uniform and gun each other down. We have to teach the bad with the good. And sometimes the best way to talk to teens, or adults for that matter, about racism is to give them a taste of the emotions that are stirred by these past events. Instead of suspending and firing everybody, this is now a perfect event for talking about racism is this community and maybe growing a little.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:01 am |
  22. Bob Smith

    Kyra often says "I think" well we don't care what you think we want the facts and no commentary. I feel that she is one of the largest sources of yellow journalism that CNN is doing more and more of these days. Give us the facts that's it. Report don't comment.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:01 am |
  23. Emily

    The experimental thing to do would be to put black students in white robes and re-enact a lynching but with white victims. That would have been and interesting social experiment. No – but seriously – in all honesty – who wants to relive these dispicable acts of hatred. It is really hard enough to think of these crimes being committed. It's true that we cannot deny history if we are to learn from it, to expose these types of truths is important, but perhaps we are still sensitive to these truths – so much so that it can still make people uncomfortable. The wounds have still not healed and apparently this experiment has taught us that this type of experimentation was just done too soon, and perhaps in the wrong environment.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:01 am |
  24. jason

    Well, it was most definitely bad judgment. When I was in school, our teacher had to preapprove any projects like that. For her sake, I hope she didn't preapprove this project. The students should get some sort of reprimand or punishment to a certain degree. But it was definitely a bad idea for all parties involved. The teacher and students should have used some common sense.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:02 am |
  25. Sean T

    If anything white should be worn in any class would be science labs; not history.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:02 am |
  26. jazz matazz

    The superintendent praised the teacher for being a great teacher and all of her previous accomplishments and qualified this as a "bad decision," honestly this decision was not thought out and it was comepltely insensative. America can never recover from those old wounds and yes that teachers should be given some time off to think about her lack of sensativity!

    May 25, 2010 at 9:02 am |
  27. Trish Palmer

    Maybe this situation doesn't have to be all negative. Were people angry about the KKK robes? GOOD! Sometimes we ALL need a little "shock to the system" to help us remember why something such as a KKK robe is so horribly offensive. The worst case scenario would have been complacency, in my opinion, or worse yet, kids finding the whole thing funny. Good for this teacher for getting people thinking visually about things instead of just teaching out of a textbook.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:03 am |
  28. Sharon

    Not only the problem with subtly communicating an intolerance of another race, but a way to pass down to the next generation, that intolerance. Asking children to dress in KKK robes, and allowing them, or encouraging them, to "Politely Ask" an African American student if he'd consent to a "lynching", is no more and no less that ensuring that not only fear, but also hatred, are instilled in the next generation. Only my opinion, but I feel that this "teacher" (name used SO loosely) should lose her job,and her right to be near impressionable minds.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:03 am |
  29. Noel

    Re-enactment?! Really?! It is Georgia….KKK is still active in the south, so why would any teacher re-enact the KKK like it is the past. She should be fired!!! I would not want my child to have a teacher that stupid!

    May 25, 2010 at 9:03 am |
  30. Kristin

    Why are we punishing teachers who are trying to go above and beyond in the classroom? This teacher was simply attempting to teach history in fun and unique way. Instead of negatively focusing on teachers who are trying to do their job, we should be looking at teachers who are using the same lesson plans, tests, and PowerPoints they have for years.

    Although, the teacher should have alerted parents and the faculty of her lesson plan beforehand. Unfortunately, there seems to be a witch hunt for teachers, especially in the controversial area of social studies.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:03 am |
  31. bob lew

    I guess there's a little irony in this discussion as it addresses racial insensitivity....the high school's mascot(s) are the "Indians"....

    May 25, 2010 at 9:03 am |
  32. Ashley

    I don't believe the teacher or students should be punished, however such assignments should be first cleared with school administration before given to students. A simple poll given to students and parents on whether or not they would want to participate would have relieved the school of any liability and embarrassment. Also, the students should not of been permitted to wear KKK robes while traveling within the school.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:03 am |
  33. J CURRY

    Without question the teacher needs to be punished. My heart goes out to the kids that were so afraid. I am not so sure about the teacher's intent. Do we really need that kind of drama in our schools? Maybe, just maybe the white sheets are familiar to the teacher.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:03 am |
  34. Jay Scott

    What was she hoping to accomplish? She exhibited extremely poor judgment and her actions will undoubtedly cause division among the student body. No wonder the South is the butt of so many jokes.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:04 am |
  35. Nancy

    Wow! I am a little surprised that others are not as upset as I am. There are other ways to re-enact History and get the students to understand. I think the teacher should be punished, and I think the students that approached the African American student and asked him to participate in a lynching should be punished. I see on the news daily where the schools are trying to crack down on bullying. This is one more bullying situation. Because this school is in a small community does that make it ok? No, if this had happened in NY,NJ,DC, what would have happened? How many fights would have broke out, riots? If this goes unpunished we are sending a message to educators that teaching like this is okay to do. It it clearly a black/white situation, and if it goes unpunished at this school, in this state then the message is being sent that African Americans feelings are still not important. It's time to come to the new century.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:04 am |
  36. Jazmine Carlino

    Of course the teacher and students should be commended for being brave enough to fully show the travisties of the times. My cousin was lynched 4 years ago in the south, even I was unaware that was still praticed today. I honestly don't remember this much outrage from the community over his murder. I think this is just another way for white people to sweep under the rug, the atrocity of their actions in the past, present and future.
    To the Teacher: Soldier on.
    To the Students: A+

    May 25, 2010 at 9:05 am |
  37. Karissa Anderson

    The story about the KKK reenactment in a Georgia school is both appalling and disheartening. For an educator to overlook that this "history project" is still a frightening and painful subject and actually request that a student volunteer to be lynched is the height of insensitivity. On another note, directly in the line of the camera view is another glaring racist statement where the school that employs such a teacher also apparently endorses the use of the word INDIANS on the school grounds. As a Native American I was once again incredulous that this use of our race is considered normal and that in a story about racism this is a glaring oversight. Perhaps this would reopen the debate over using a people as mascots.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:05 am |
  38. JoAnn E. Aud

    I believe that no one should be punished....If "people of color" are offended" they need to work on their resentments and anger...this is history and it still happens in the South......This is great project for students to reenact the past and present.....What about having the "people of color" wear the KKK clothing and the "whites" be placed in the Blacks position?

    May 25, 2010 at 9:05 am |
  39. mike sey

    Absolutely not. To do so would kill all creativity in the classroom. At least she had the kid's attention and they were actively involved. No doubt as a good and imaginative teacher, she and her class will use this as a learning moment and discuss what happened and why , the lessons learned and how to better manage such projects in the future.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:05 am |
  40. Donald

    I think the teacher should be fired. She knows she should have cleared it through the principal before implementing it in the classroom. I think she did it to be malicious and to hurt people. Don't ask me why. And I know you can't prove it. She probably thought she could get away with it and didn't bank on such retaliation.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:05 am |
  41. Joel

    This is by all accounts, a good teacher who had a lapse in judgement, and poor judgement in the classroom should be reprimanded. However; we all make mistakes. If a zero defects mentality is instituted in the classroom, the only people who will suffer are the students. Probation and a public apology is appropriate. If this teacher is able to learn from her mistake, she will undoubtedly make an even better teacher, with a better understanding of the intricacies of race in America.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:05 am |
  42. John

    A good opportunity for real discussion and learning destroyed by the media and over protective parents. Why are schools making our children dumber and ignoring history with real thoughtful discussion? Just another example of schools pressured by society, example Texas text books. No one should be punished and now they can move forward with discussion about how seeing the customs made them feel.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:05 am |
  43. Will

    It's great the teacher is enthusiastic about teaching and we need teachers like her. Unfortunately she made a bad decision in her method of teaching, and I doubt she will be as effective in teaching the students.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:05 am |
  44. Dean

    One thing we have learned here is not let history repeat it self. If we do not let these type of lessons be tought, we will forget what happened and the struggle it took to make a change in our nation. I think school admin is over reacting...........

    May 25, 2010 at 9:06 am |
  45. Dave

    The students should have "brought" their costumes to school, not worn them. As far as the teacher goes, she is a well respected educator, and was teaching a class about racism. No other country in the world has done more to advance the African-American community than the United States, so the liberal left and the black community should just chill out & let the teacher teach about racism without the "politically correct" handcuffs on so the kids have a much better idea about where the ignorance of racism came from.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:07 am |
  46. Bernard

    I think she should be fired...period! The fact the she teaches AP History proves that she is not as dumb person so she knew what was going on. I truly believe that this country will never get past racism because of not taking a extreme stance on incidents likes this. A message need to be sent that anyone who engages in acts like this...This piss poor to say the least

    US ARMY....

    May 25, 2010 at 9:07 am |
  47. Tamara

    I just watched the segment on the kids in the KKK robes. The young man speaking said when his cousin saw those robes the fear that came over that child was quite evident. Should there be a punishment for this re-enactment? Not sure if punishment is the right word. There should be some serious dialogue on the issue within that school. They should converse with all the students not just AP and make this history known. It was wrong in every way that those students wore those robes outside of the lesson area. I do feel some kind of way about the teacher using the sheets but I don't have enough information to decide is she over stepped her boundaries my initial thought was yes but I would like more information on this class. I am a 42 yr. old african-american woman who worked in the publice school system and I know sometimes things aren't as they seem. KKK robes??? don't know how you can misunderstand that statement, those kids should be reprimanded.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:07 am |
  48. Mya

    Hollywood makes films with these images and it accents the horrors of that group and those times. "Forrest Gump" and "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" just to name two. Isn't it probable that this teacher was doing the same? Maybe the question should be asked to the students: What did you take away from this lesson? Their answers should settle this silly dispute.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:07 am |
  49. Bob

    If students are so hypersensitive that they freak out over other students in sheets, I'm pretty sure they won't handle the real world very effectively.

    People need to get over themselves and stop being "offended" at the drop of a hat.

    Would there have been this much of a ruckus if they'd dressed as Nazis?

    Typical knee-jerk reaction from people living in the past and blinded by race.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:07 am |
  50. bob lew

    Can't folks also claim to be upset and fearful when they see young black males in clothes that resemble "gang attire"? This type of attire is associated with the gang culture which is tied to thousands of murders every year...

    May 25, 2010 at 9:07 am |
  51. Jim Bedll

    Reenacting is a great way to teach history but you have to be smarter about how you approach such a sensitive issue. she should have made a "check with me" with the principal and superintendent . it is a mistake of believing all the scars have healed. not yet. I wouldn't reenact Wounded Knee in South Dakota.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:07 am |
  52. Mary

    It is easy for someone to say that the African American students should not have been afraid and that it is no different than if "African Americans kids re-enacted a slave uprising and a white student said he was scared." But the fact of the matter is, if Whites had not enslaved African Americans, there would not have been a slave uprising, now would there?

    I do not believe that the teacher meant any harm when she allowed the students to dress this way for the re-enactment, but she certainly showed poor judgment. I think that the teacher needs to go through some for of diversity and sensitivity training / education program. I think that she should be allowed to keep her job though.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:07 am |
  53. Robert Drouillard

    With the school book change in Texas wanting to ignore the KKK's horrible part in American history, I think this is perfect. KKK has had a huge impact in America and would be foolish to think it no longer exists.
    It obviously still instills fear. Sad but true. Wake up Texas.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:08 am |
  54. David Moore

    Should we be able to wear a Klan robe as part of historical re-enactment? Did the Klan lynch innocent blacks and white supporters?

    Should we be able to dress as a Nazi as part of historical re-enactment?
    Did numerous Nazis cause the deaths of countless numbers of Jews, Gypsies and others?

    In my opinion, yes. We should learn from history so we don't repeat our mistakes. We can't sugar-coat the past. In retelling a story, both the bad guys and the good guys should be represented.

    Should the teacher be fired? No. Perhaps a course on sensitivity and presentation. Klansmen in robes - faux or not - are never a good idea for free-range public school cafeteria roaming.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:10 am |
  55. Galen

    I can't believe that this woman who is supposed to be a history teacher didn't know what the affect this would have after knowing what this particular action caused in the very recent past. She should be put on administrative leave or fired.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:10 am |
  56. susan robinson

    The class project was on racism. Every documentary on racism would include the KKK. I doubt the teacher instructed the students to walk around the school in their robes. But that they made the choice independently, and proably as a teenager type joke.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:10 am |
  57. jacquelineburns

    The teacher should be punished. This is not a "learning" experience.
    Are there no Black kds in AP History to discuss what thier ancestors experiences were??? Will we have kids acting out rapes on girls to "learn" about women's rights ?? All she needed to do was to show the photos of the KKK and other racists burning Black people alive, beating pregnant women , photo/films about Emmitt Till. These photos are posted on the web. It wasn't just the KKK, it was avereage white people laughing at the lynched body hanging from a tree. In addition, what parent would want their kid in a noose ??? The fact they they could even approach a Black kid to ask that question is idiotic.
    A project focusuing on Anti-racism would have been better. (poems ,songs etc). Why not bring a Black civil rights leader to discuss thier experiences. Does the tacher have another agenda ?? Again where are the Black kids in AP History???

    May 25, 2010 at 9:10 am |
  58. Damon

    I would love to see more context regarding the teacher and her intentions. I'm an African American man that is quite passionate about the history and current struggles of America's black citizens. But it's such a thorny subject that even gestures of noble intent can easily run awry. I’m intimately and painfully aware of the fact that racism exists; however, I’m also aware that there are white and other non-black Americans that have stood on the side of equality. In short, what bothers me is that, if this teacher is one of the 'good guys' or 'good gals' as it were, I hate to see her given a bad rap due to poor execution of well-intended idea. That said, the incident did happen in Georgia, so it could have very well been an incident more in line with the state's pernicious racial past. Who knows? More context and insight would be nice.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:10 am |
  59. Terrie Lahti

    It's a sad day for all involved, yes. I don't believe that the teacher acted in such a way, that her job should be on the line. She made a mistake, however, she wasn't in the group wearing the robe outside of the class room. I feel that the students, who did wear those robes outside of the classroom, should suffer a consequence for their tasteless and malicious behavior. Maybe a redo of the entire year! They obviously missed something! Time to step up to the plate and correct these types of behaviors before they get out of hand any further than they already are!

    These are high school students who will soon, be expected to take on the role of "RESPONSIBLE" adults, behaving appropriately! There is a lesson to be learned! Let's hold them accountable for their behavior, as their behavior should be viewed as a form of BULLYING. Doesn't the school have a rule against that?! If not, they certainly should have one!!!!

    May 25, 2010 at 9:11 am |
  60. Gerald Alexandria, VA


    As a 47 year old Black man and having experienced racism, bigotry, and having the "n" word thrown at me I understand why there is an uprage over this history teacher's judgment.

    Still, I am concerned that too many young people are not aware of what Black people experienced over the years at the hand of this country and even hate crimes against Blacks being protected.

    I sat in a college classroom crying as I saw the images of water hoses and police dogs being turned on my people and as painful as it was to see it I am glad I did. For one thing, it put my own challenges with racism in perspective.

    We Blacks don't want to be reminded of slavery, KKK, Jim Crow, SBE water fountains and classrooms and that, in my oppinion, is part of the reason we are not as strong as a community as we could be.

    I think that Jewish community is so strong because they don't want to forget their slavery and holocaust. Maybe we can take a lesson from them.

    That teacher obviously could have done it better but the politically correct environment white washes religious, racial, political, and social facts and realities from society and history and we will be doomed to repeat all the horrors of the past.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:11 am |
  61. E Gray

    Yes, I think that the teacher should be reprimanded and both she/he should be forced to study Black History and make a report of the events in that History and the effects it had on those captive slaves. They should be made to experience, at least in theory, the effects of such brutal acts as lynching, impaling, raping, etc had in dehumanizing an entire people for 500 years. Only then can they understand how their classroom act was no laughing matter.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:13 am |
  62. colleen

    It's ironic that CNN forgot to mention the word INDIANS emblazoned into the shot of the school when doing a story on offensive racist symbols. Like mascots. We are still dismissed and forgotten in our own lands while you all bicker about "American" history that begins with Europeans. If the word "coons" was there instead and the mascot was L'il Black Sambo, CNN would care, but when we complain about stupid costumes we are trivialized. We're not real big on people dressing up like John Wayne and going "woo-woo" either but because they REALLY almost exterminated us while Africans survived to be used for slaves, they teach history but not OURstory.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:14 am |
  63. Eugene K

    I do not feel the teacher should not have gotten in trouble for it. When she asked the students to dress up, it was just for a project so the students can learn of each historical character. To kids, dressing up doesn't really mean much. It is just homework to get a grade, part of going to school. I am sure the teacher felt the students would see it the same way. It was what the kids did out in the halls with it that should be where the problem is/starts. They should be the one being punished for it. If they went around not causing trouble, and just wearing the costume, it is like Halloween. They are just dressing up. Typically the kids would not have those kinds of thoughts, esp. negative thoughts. They are just doing homework.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:14 am |
  64. Nancy

    These words are thrown out in wrong context people of color, Over Reacting, Learning a lesson....Really? So it would be okay if a school class dressed up as terrorists and re-enacted 9-11? Or how about Columbine? These are also items of History. There is a time and a place for everything, and I think this was done in poor judgment, without taking the other students into consideration. Why not communicate what she was doing to the whole school so everyone was aware, not just walking into a lunch room and asking an African American to be part of a lynching? Because she knew it was wrong.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:15 am |
  65. Drenee

    This is outrageous. Not only was the horrifying legacy of lynching rampant throughout Georgia not even a generation ago, it's very possible some of those students are descendants of victims and perpetrators. At the very least it was insensitive and ignorant and at it's worst, it was intentionally malicious. These students (and teacher) should be made to watch the PBS documentary on lynching in America.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:16 am |
  66. Bob

    Can't any clothing resembling "gang attire" be seen just as fear-inducing?

    May 25, 2010 at 9:19 am |
  67. louis Bodak

    It's different to see a picture in a book and seeing that image live. Thats an education. Great job teach! Lets hear it for innovative educators.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:22 am |
  68. Vijay

    If the teacher's intent was reenacting history, then the way to resolve this fear and anger is to initiate reconciliation and forgiveness between the teacher, her white students and the black students. It is a teaching moment for everyone. It takes a lot of courage to do this, but it is the only way. Firing someone will never solve problems. What is it about Americans that desire to see heads roll all the time? Why can't we show some grace to people (all people)?

    May 25, 2010 at 9:25 am |
  69. Heather

    I've been to Lumpkin County before and I am therefore not surprised that this happened there. Someone commented that "the teacher should have been given a chance to explain the project and its intent" and "How can we learn from our past if we pretend it didn't happen?" In my lifetime, I have yet to meet anyone, black, hispanic, white, etc., who has pretended that the KKK did not scare, target and kill people based solely upon the color of their skin and I'm only 29. The fear of the KKK is NOT something that is in the past for people who could be targeted by them. I grew up in Salisbury, N.C. and remember seeing a KKK parade march openly through the city. My family moved from N.C. to Georgia when I was in high school and I remember being afraid when we first entered Georgia because the state flag at the time still showcased the Battle Flag of the Confederacy. People are still legitimately weary of the KKK and this extremely thoughtless event should not have occurred.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:34 am |
  70. Sharon

    I had to go back and look at the story. You're right, it does take my ancestry and write it on the ground, as though all Native Americans are mascots. I was of the opinion that the "teacher" should be fired. I've changed my mind, I don't believe any of the school's administration should be allowed to teach children their hatred. Fire them all.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:34 am |
  71. Charray

    I attended this high school, and if you didn't grow up as a black student in Dahlonega, you really don't know what they go through. I am black. The problem isn't teaching this part of history. The problem is when you have a school that is 95% white and 2% black, you don't allow students to walk down the hall in KKK uniforms!!! Period. There are other ways to do a film project besides being so insensitive and ignorant and scaring the few black students to death.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:38 am |
  72. jacquelineburns

    Bob- Gang- attire /anything distracting is not allowed in schools.
    The school may have a racist environment . there ay not be any minorities in AP History.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:38 am |
  73. Bob

    jburns: what is AP history? Question: have any of the black students protested or stood up against the use of "Indians" as the school mascots?

    May 25, 2010 at 9:57 am |
  74. Chris

    The bigger issue here is the teachers lack of judgment and common sense in the situation. Talking about racism in schools is of utmost importance, but there are ways to do it, even in the teacher's radical approach, without causing a backlash in the community.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:57 am |
  75. mark

    Its a part of history, not a good part a histoy but it happened. Are we only allowed to teach the good of history and not the bad. This probably was a good history lesson that if explained to the students they could understand the what happened, why it happened and why it should not happen again.
    You have all the self rightous people who want to jump on the soapbox and yell racism. Let the students learn the history and the mistakes

    May 25, 2010 at 9:58 am |
  76. grr

    The teacher had it correct in making a movie. Children and Society NEED to see these things and know that it was wrong. ABout the only thing that she got wrong was in allowing the costumed students to roam the halls. The simple fact is, that many take exception to it.
    What bothers me is that the reverend made a cause out of this. He could have simply talked to the teacher first, suggested that the students NOT walk around halls in these customes and I would bet that it would be done. Yet, he chose not to.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:59 am |
  77. Rick Voit

    Another example of selective censorship. No one with any morality or intelligence likes the klan....but it is a reality. To hide from this reality is what prevents an open discourse and acceptance of this country's more regretful past and present. As this teacher is fired, racist, angry, sexist, violent "music" permeates the airways. And we give awards for such trash. Grow up, America. And take a minute to look in the mirror.

    May 25, 2010 at 9:59 am |
  78. jacquelineburns

    While doing this the white kids were laughing ??? What are they learning by doing this exactly ?? This sound more like Tea Pary type bullying.

    May 25, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  79. Doris K.

    I watch cnn every morning, but this morning I could not grasp what I heard, K.K.K. in the classroom?? With everything else going wrong in this country must we americans, now monitor what the teacher teaches in the classroom?? I am so, so, tired of the U.S.A. being the laughingstock of the rest of the World. I definitely believe the teacher knew exactly what she was doing. I know she must be terminated, such action needs to be dealt with immediately....

    May 25, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  80. Tony

    As an African-American, I can appreciate what the teacher had in mind with the exercise, however she was careless in her approach. In my opinion she should have obtained buy-in from the principle and then gave notice to the student body before actually doing it. I think it was the surprise of seeing students dressed as KKK members without warning that was so shocking. If the students, parents and other faculty were more prepared it probably wouldn't have been a big deal. Her intent was probably taken out of context.

    May 25, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  81. Danni St.Claire

    it is strongly apparent that those who have issues with this are the ones still preaching about basic civil rights being taken from them. When is the civils rights war going to end? I think that instead of being angered about the situation educators should take this opportunity to gather their students, and find out what exactly they feel about it. It is important for us to talk about our issues together, or else we as a unified country will always remain divided. I am a strong believer in equality, and equal treatment and do not for one second think that the teacher had any intention to harm her black students. Last semester we also had a history project (at the collegiate level) where the class was divided into groups for an in class project. One of those groups was the KKK, and some of our black students wanted to be in that group......

    May 25, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  82. stormreaper

    The most RACIST organization in this country is the NAACP.Once again the black community is getting in an uproar over something very trivial.What would they say to a WAACP? Would this be considered a racist org.?Try educating your children,cleaning up your communities and getting along.Stop whining at every opportunity to see an offense against your race.We are all Americans,if you want to be African the boat is in the port.Take it.

    May 25, 2010 at 10:02 am |
  83. Cayla

    The fact of the matter is, yes, she should have re-thought her methodology and only allowed the robes to be worn in class for the project. But the racism in the world, as students would have learned in the class, has become over dramatic as well as twisted. If people would actually pay attention in class instead of seeing things through their "ancestors" they would know that the KKK was not even started as a racist klan nor was it or is it used to condone just african-americans. – the same as slavery.

    May 25, 2010 at 10:03 am |
  84. Glenn Jackson

    This type of activity in my mind is unacceptable.
    It is a racial statement from a rasist, make no
    mistake about it the teacher knew what she was
    promoting and the students in the robes knew
    what they were "(reinacting)" in this society there
    is room for many things term politicians ,term
    Surpreme Court Justices , updating the Constitution of the United States of America to
    fit the times, but there is no room for racist or
    racisum , be it in the form of Arizona Politicians
    on the MLK holiday being resinded twenty years
    or the current immigration law in Arizona which
    allows racial profiling against Hispanics or a
    rasist teacher in Georgia. The students should be reprimanded and the teacher terminated and the school district sued for hiring her and allowing a rasist into it system.
    G Glenn Jackson

    May 25, 2010 at 10:04 am |
  85. Kathryn Haines

    Who decides which history we can re-enact and which ones to leave out?
    History of the Holocaust can be re-enacted and taught in a classroom without it making nation news, but it's alway the One easily offended Culture that chooses every opportunity available to be Offended.
    "The Elephant In The Room"

    May 25, 2010 at 10:05 am |
  86. chris Bray

    This is getting out of hand. Everything is about racism. How can we get past racism when the news want let it go. A white person has to watch everything they say due to the fact it might be racism. Is it racism when I try to get a job and I can't because they have to have black person to fill that postion. Slavery was a long time ago. Blacks need to drop the past and move on. Earn things the right way, and stop looking for race to fix their problems.

    May 25, 2010 at 10:07 am |

    considering that racism is a thorn that may never go away within american society and the fact that teacher is grown. she has common sense and she could of found another way to bring out whatever it statement she trying to make. even the reporter sounded as if she wa condoning the teacher. RACISM is a monster, Godzilla can't beat it in america. we are hurting as a nation within it's own walls. i'll be the first to admit it's a huge problem here. didn't this happen in the the confine of SEC country, the SEC as a whole is the most RACIST conference in america, thats a subject for you. did you know the "kkk" still protest football games because "blacks" play on their precious teams. it's 2010, when will someone, anyone realize just how disruptive this. WE HAVE TO MAKE AN EFFORT TO DEFEAT ONE OF THE BIGGEST PROBLEMS WE HAVE AS A NATION.... we still cry, no matter great we claim to be, sometimes we do together as a nation, just not often....

    May 25, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  88. Cayla

    Not to mention that the school is located in Georgia, which is one of the biggest confederate/southern states in America. There is a place outside of Atlanta called Stone Mountain that has a confederate park! On the side of the mountain in the park flies the Confederate Flag (rebel flag) with a message stating "We are still here" which is sent by members of the KKK. Its all listed in the musem there.

    May 25, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  89. Ken Hubbard

    As most has stated on CNN, the teacher should have posted guidelines like...don't walk around Georgia in your "play" KKK robes.'s Georgia. The kids or the teacher should not be punished for anything. The reality of the situation has proved to be a valuable lesson for all. Racism still hits home with allot of people. Let's all get along...Ken Hubbard.

    May 25, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  90. another teacher

    The teacher should be fired. This is a HUGE lapse in judgment, and I bet this isn't her first. How could a teacher ever think this was o.k.? Shame on this teacher ! Shame on this school district if they don't send a message loud and clear that this behavior will not be tolerated!

    May 25, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  91. Bill


    On the KKK story, never say that you are sure that the teacher "meant no harm". The teacher could have had interactive teaching between her students regarding slavery and the KKK without the shock value generated by wearing sheets and hoods. Please, do not offer to understand the "harm" imposed by one culture on another without walking in the shoes of those offended.

    May 25, 2010 at 10:09 am |
  92. Ashley

    I think this is absolutely riducolous to even have this issue on the news like this. It was nothing more than an educational project. If school systems have a problem with it then they should take it all out of the history books. Its no different then putting it in books our children learn about in classrooms everyday in this country.

    May 25, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  93. Brandon

    I think everyone is over reacting to this. I don't believe the young boy was scared, as much as he just saw an opportunity to make a scene and play the oppression card. In an environment conducive to learning, racism and pride do not play a part, and it isn't fair that the teacher's job is on the line. If anyone is at fault it is the children for wearing klan garb in the school cafeteria, it should have stayed in the classroom. Kids will be kids, we need to not be so sensitive.

    May 25, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  94. MK

    This teacher has to know this type of behavior is not appropriate for any environment inclusive of her history class. She could have better taught about racism through other means. Is she really promoting racism being that it is a taught and learned behavior? She should be terminated, charged, and required to do community service in the black community for a 5 year period and let the students who suffered this cruel and unusual behavior decide what and where in the black community she performs this community service. Lastly, if she reneges to carry out her punishment then she has to make a $5000 donation to a charity of the students choice that fights racism(i.e. Southern Poverty Law Center)

    May 25, 2010 at 10:13 am |
  95. Sean

    If it was anywhere else but the south it would have been fine. But that is the area that needs to be educated.

    Why aren't people more upset with the new "Black Barbi" .... she has big boobs and is in stripper clothes. So is she, "Ghetto Barbi", "Stripper Barbi", or "Street Walker Barbi"........... if that doesn't enrage the Black Community more than kids wearing sheets at school for history, something is really wrong.

    May 25, 2010 at 10:13 am |
  96. Doug

    Wait, you have no details about the story, but you want people to comment about a racial-baiting article? Wow, how far we have come...

    May 25, 2010 at 10:13 am |
  97. Michael Toler

    I think we don't have anywhere near enough information to judge. What, precisely, was the project? Were instructions were the students given? What race were the students in the robes? How were they behaving?

    To say this teacher chose to shoot Birth of the Nation 2 is irresponsible. That film comes from a different era and was sympathetic to the Klan. Is that the case with the student project? Just because a film has scenes with the KKK in it doesn't mean itnis pro KKK. For example, Mississippi Burning which was a historical drama denouncing them, Oh Brother Where Art Thou? mocks them.

    This story is incomplete. I cannot say whether the teacher or students should be disciplined or whether they simply need to be sat down for some training.

    May 25, 2010 at 10:16 am |
  98. Lance D.

    The word student can be defined as a person engaged in study or seeks knowledge from professional teachers or from books. By that definition I think the teacher should be held responsible, as a teacher you are put in a position to assume responsibility for your student’s good/bad. A simple 5 min talk outlining the guidelines about when and where these costumes can be worn may have prevented this issue at the very least showed the teacher was thinking.

    May 25, 2010 at 10:17 am |
  99. Corrine Ortega

    I am not black, I'm Hispanic-American. Born in California. I find this very offensive. KKK is not history or our past, unfortunately there are still small pockets of people in this country who are still members of that discriminating and hateful organization. Students need teachers to "lead" them in making good decisions in life, and to practice common sense, so I question her credentials to be a good instructor to children, when she obviously lacks these skills herself.

    May 25, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  100. colleen

    Re: Jean's comment: You just made my point for me. No, the first "settlers" were not "Indians." That is what Europeans called us collectively and America is what they called our lands. There were over 500 nations/tribes here, all different peoples. We are indigenous to "North America" and it is an error to confuse the issue of mass illegal immigration which the Arizona law desperately is trying to stop due to failure of the government to enforce the law by lumping Mexicans and South Americans in with people indigenous to the lands called North America. They were NEVER indigenous to OUR lands anymore than European and Africans were. Hispanics, Mexicans, and South Americans are in part descended from Europeans – Spanish conquistadors – and also Aztec, Mayans, etc. – tribal people from SOUTH of the border. This was NEVER their homeland. That is a lie "La Raza" activists have perpetuated to further their agenda of falsely claiming our homeland and justifying illegal immigration which has NEVER been in the interest of our people. Maybe they should get rid of that teacher and hire ME to teach OURstory.

    May 25, 2010 at 10:25 am |
  101. Talmage Shipman

    "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."[
    George Santayana

    This teacher was using a multi-media approach to teach one lesson but the over reaction by the administration will teach quite another. As to the black student who was "Scared", my question is of what? You want scary fashion try Milan, Paris, New York, Tokyo or the White House.

    The fact that this story is on CNN proves that Political Correctness (censorship) has gone too far. The fact that the administration of the school put that outstanding teacher on administrative leave shows they do not want to encourage learning.

    History is full of far worse things than the KKK. Happily except for some fringe elements that sad chapter of American History is in the past to be replaced by Gang Bangers who kill and maim far more black people than the Klan ever did.


    May 25, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  102. Tammy

    I, personally feel the teacher is a racist. Yes, unfortunately it is apart of history as is slavery but to allow the students to march around the school in the KKK "uniform" was thoughtless and uncaring of the feelings of others. The teacher walked them through the hallways...she knew what effect that would have and she didn't care. Yes, she should be punished and having a "paid" vacation from school is definately not punishment.

    May 25, 2010 at 10:38 am |
  103. Eric Kaigler

    @ Talmage Shipman,

    I understand where your going but i dont agree. We dont know what the students idea was so lets not judge. We do know that its wrong to put people in a Hostile environment is wrong. Thats what these kids did so they should be punished or shown what the action could have resulted in. As for the gang banging comment there are just as many other races invovled in gang banging than blacks. Im in the military and i see more multi culture gangs that aren't all black people.

    May 25, 2010 at 10:45 am |
  104. Lakita Wright

    Several weeks ago my 3rd grade nephew, the only African American student in his class, was taken on a field trip to the Cottonwood Plantation near Nashville,TN, to re-enact civil war battles in an effort to celebrate their "southern heritage." Overwhelmingly, the children chose to wear grey (confederate uniforms). We chose to send him as a shackled slave to bring authenticity to the event. His hand was bandaged to simulate that it was amputated - knowing how to read as a slave was punishable by death or the removal of a limb. Many of his classmates found this to be the most interesting thing they learned that day. To those above the Mason Dixon Line, scenarios like this may be "news," however to many in the South, school children re-enacting such history is common. Near the school, off interstate 65, is a massive (understatement) statue of one of the founders of the KKK with the flags of every confederate state flanking it. Hmmm, what would be the reaction if a statue of Adolph Hitler were erected with the Nazi and Axis flags flying high as children came to school as SS solders. How about a Bin Ladin statue with all the islamic arabic flags flying high around it as children dressed as 'terrorists" to re-enact 911 or the massacre in Mogadishu? Her intentions may have been good but we all know where that path leads. Atlanta and Nashville are but precursors to the rest of the US, as the revisionist history books are about to be passed in Texas, stating that the Civil War was about states rights and not about slavery. This notion is already the norm in many southern states. In all but 2 states that wrote Articles of Secession, slaver was listed first as the reason of joining the Confederacy. If you send a "Dear John" letter to somebody your major grievance is always stated first, not last.

    May 25, 2010 at 10:59 am |
  105. Jeffrey

    Wow…are you kidding me!! Who is in charge at this High School? All teachers are required to have and submit a lesson plan for each semester’s curriculum for review and approval. So you mean to tell me that no one knew what this teacher was planning until the event happened? How reckless, more than that it is an example of poor leadership by the principal and administrative staff the teacher. What happened to the wisdom, sensitivity and respect for others? A teacher can be a hero whom we can admire – their task is to nurture, their goal to inspire.

    May 25, 2010 at 10:59 am |
  106. Michael Pearce

    I'm just wondering if the teacher did or would have the students dress up like Nazis when teaching about World War II.

    May 25, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  107. Mary Stull

    What is wrong with it? It is a part of history, students need to know how awful it was for blacks. The teacher should not be supended for teaching history.

    May 25, 2010 at 11:30 am |
  108. Yvetta

    I really believe the teacher had an idea of what the students were going to do. Teachers approve class projects before they let them present them. I think everyone is just throwing this our of porprotion. Sad to say, the kkk is apart of our history. Kids need to learn what happened in the past. Unfortunatly the white robes were just apart of what they wore to represent themselves. If the teacher felt as though that was the best way to teach her students of the past, then i say do not punish her. If your a parent that wants to hide your child of these past events, then do not put them in schools.

    May 25, 2010 at 11:35 am |
  109. Shirley Holmes

    I watched the segment about the KKK costumes at the school. Then you showed a picture of the school and in the background on the hill was "INDIANS". Here in Wisconsin we have been working very hard to stop the schools from using Native Americans for their mascots. I just thought it was ironic on a piece about racism.

    May 25, 2010 at 11:36 am |
  110. Charles

    I think that the teacher is trying to get the students to learn in a fun & different manner by making a movie. Movies require costumes, but the students didn't need to wear the costumes to school. They should have brought them and changed when needed.

    May 25, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
  111. Steve

    No they shouldn't be punished. The KKK is part of, and still is history no matter how unpleasant they are. History is not just made up of things we would like to remember as warm and fuzzy, it is also filled with the darker side of hate and cruelty.

    May 25, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
  112. sam

    Though I can understand the reaction of African-American students to the KKK robes, especially becuase of the strong conotations of linchings and racism it brings, I do belive that if the teacher was giving a complete historical perspective of racism's past, she should not face any consequences. Let's open up American history in all its positive and negative forms.

    Sam Duarte

    Santa Maria, CA

    May 25, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
  113. Chris

    The teacher was correct in her approach to this project. I believe in order to make it more real and help students understand the reality of history she allowed them to bring it to life. Obviously, the point was not to try and "scare" anyone and if the boy felt threatened by people he goes to school with day in and day out, surely he would have said something before now. The students seemed only to be presenting their project. Now might they have "joked" about the whole thing and said or done something inappropriate? Yes, and for that they would be at fault. However, with the overall issue, the teacher wasn't wrong and shouldnt be disciplined for it.

    May 25, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
  114. Megan

    The teacher should not be punished. But what upsets me is the reaction to the kids that wore the KKK outfits. This is a HISTORY class, although I am not for the KKK, it is a part of our history. If they would have dressed as hitler would the jewish be mad? We have black history month and no white, mexican, and everyother race month. We celebrate ML King day because it is a part of HISTORY. We learn about things in school that deal with a horrible past that the US had. But it is part of the past. If we want racism to stop we have to stop feeding into it. And not to mention those kids have no idea what it was like in those days. Then generations after the severe KKK time need not to act like they personally experienced it.

    May 25, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
  115. brittany

    NO!!! there is nothing wrong with what that teacher did! shes wright to teach that! its an embarrassing part of american history that is still going on and shouldn't be hidden. being educated on the kkk could help bring an end to it. i do not think it was racist. i do think that some people are being a little sensitive. i mean its like a native american getting upset from seeing someone in colonial american clothing. we teach our kids about that awful time in america. why should we not educate our kids in this one?

    May 25, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
  116. john m castellanos sr

    I think the teacher did not think through what people would think when they would see the hoods and robes. I think her intention's was to get people talking and thinking and it has done this. Finally, it is no different then people, acting as slaves. John from Millbury, Ohio

    May 25, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
  117. Amanda

    I suppose this was a high school teacher assigning a history project for her students? That's totally ridiculous. The teacher should be punished for that. The kids don't give themselves assignments. They do their assignments and projects they are given. The teacher who thought of a project like that for students to do, should have thought if it would affect/offend anyone at school. Most projects given to students in any grade, aren't gang-related. Students, white or black, who may have a problem hearing about a project like that they are to do, surely they would have said something, or asked the teacher if that project is too controversial .It's more/less the teacher's fault than it is the students.

    May 25, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
  118. Doug

    somehow I think it is funny that they are affended by this yet have nothing to say about the fact native americans should be affended by the word indians written on the front lawn. seems outrage is a little bit of a me me me thing these days.

    May 25, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  119. Izumi

    Here's MY issue: WHY is it NECESSARY for students to DRESS UP as KKK members in order for a so-called history class to have a DEEP DISCUSSION about such a significant and horrible event in American history??? Ever wonder about that? Why is it necessary for students to dress up as the despicable Klan in order for students to realize how offensive and hurtful it is? Just another person saying "because I CAN" apathetic of the feelings of others, yet people complain that it was for educational purposes or America is too politically correct. Not "correct" enough if you ask me.
    What's next, America? A reenactment of Pearl Harbor by the students? How about the Hiroshima bombing? Oh, what about the slave trade–that's a good one! Or how about students dressing up as Nazis next time with little concentration camps set up around the campus? Is it "okay" to do that, too? Please, save it for the movies, not our children! I swear the people in this country as a society are moving backwards.
    –"Man tyrannises over man to his hurt"

    May 25, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  120. Carl

    A great historian said that just because you teach to educate doesn't mean you personally believe or solicit what you teach. No harm done. Its called education in a Democracy.

    Send those nearly new robes to West Virginia where they really do wear them!

    May 25, 2010 at 1:41 pm |
  121. dee

    it is a part (albeit a very disturbing part) of history. am not sure that four were necessary and why was the black student frightened? did he not know the students? if he did and was still frightened that is what needs looking into and dealt with.

    May 25, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
  122. Kathy

    I am a retired teacher. This could have had a more powerful effect on the students had she given them the roles of the oppressed African-Americans instead of the KKK. The real lesson was in understanding what was wrong at the time, and finding solutions to prevent it from happening in the future. And- keep it in the classroom unless the entire school is in on the lesson!

    May 25, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
  123. Courtney

    This was a horrible idea, simply because KKK robes where intended to strike fear in the black community, so for kids to walk into a lunch room dressed as KKK was a recipe for disaster. The teacher was suppose to be an expert in history but clearly didn't do her homework on symbolism. I agree that certain subjects have to be brought up when we discuss history, but a certain amount of sensitivity must come along with that. When we talk of the Holocaust you don't see people dressing like Hitler or SS soilders because of what that symbolises, so please show african americans the same respect.

    May 25, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
  124. Michael Peterson

    I don't think there is a problem with this... The teacher wanted students to re-enact history and if people came in dressed in WWII clothes or Holding a kite with a key on it no one would have said anything. I'm sure that even if students walked in with Nazi symbols on their arms no one would have made a big deal about it even though KKK killed far less people that the 6 million jews that were killed in the Holocaust. This was suppose to be a learning experience for the kids and people turned it around!

    May 25, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
  125. in Illinois

    There is far too much hypocrisy in our society today; it exists in government, financial institutions, and education. This teacher did nothing wrong in allowing students to glimpse the ignominious past of white bias in our society. What we hear we do not remember, what we see we do remember. The concreteness of white robes in a comfortable school corridor shocks our sensibilities; we need to be shocked. Three white Civil Rights workers were shot in 1963 and tossed into ditches in order to keep our country in the century long bias following the Civil War and Lincoln's struggle to liberate not only an enslaved people but free people who thought equality only meant "free white landowners." Let's stop this pretentious self-righteousness. Our young adults in high school deserve the truth.

    May 25, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
  126. Michaal

    As a black man this teacher was right to bring to light the past history of america's wrongs not just to blacks, but all other minority groups. This practice that the KKK believes in is still going on today, they just don't hide behind hoods. It is ok for all these cable news show to support all the negative views of a group of people that want keep the poor, non-employed out of fair treatment under the law, We really need some people on the news to tell the truth about what is really going on, it appears that if you are white you should be given a past on continued hatered, and you want to punish those that expose those that believe that they are above all americans just because they are white people.

    May 25, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  127. Kazie Kimbrough

    This was a racist act on the part of the teacher and the students involved. Actually, the kid's parents should have intervened when they tried to leave the house with KKK robes on. People are very sensitive towards racist issues. I wonder who would have been blamed if these kids were attacked walking around town with KKK robes on. Some things are not appropriate regardless of the occasion or situation. The 9/11 attack is now a part of our history, would it have been appropriate for some students to reenact that event. Would it have been alright for them to come to school with black trenchcoats to reenact Columbine shooting, it is all a part of our history. Those students and their parents had ill intentions.

    May 25, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  128. Duke Reedy


    The KKK story is terrible. What makes it worse is the wor INDIAN on the side of the hill. This isn't a lapse in judgement, this is more of the same fro mpeople who just don't get it.

    May 25, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  129. Coleman

    As a African-American living in Georgia I understand the tension that exist between whites and blacks, I could give the teacher an "A" for trying to create a platform for discussion, but a "F" in sensitivity training which seems to be the real issue seeing that no malice was the intent.

    May 25, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  130. Sam

    As a bad student I can say one thing.
    Students should be punished. If the teacher wants out of it she should apologize ATLEAST for not knowing what was gonna happen. (Think of how a parent apologizes for a rude child that sort of situation).

    Heck I remember doing all sorts of things that really pushed the limits and were never funny.

    I mean we know everyone has the freedom of speech but as always just because you have a right to say doesn't mean no one has to like it.

    May 25, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  131. Justin

    Most of the people defending the teacher for "teaching history" are assuming that violent racism is a thing of the past. As a recent (and former) resident of Georgia, I can say that the number of self-proclaimed 'racists' in Georgia would be shocking to those who believe that the ugliness of our racist past is behind us. Black students in Georgia are clearly aware that the rhetoric of violent racism is alive and well, and have every right to oppose this insensitive re-enactment.

    May 25, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  132. vintagechica82

    The teacher probably had no idea that her students would dress in kkk robes; she was just giving her students a chance to be creative in teaching history. This was most likely a prank by the 4 students who thought it would be funny to be offensive and obviously took the assignment to far. She shouldn't be disciplined.

    May 25, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  133. Michaela Painter

    My mother graduated from another high school in Georgia in 1979. She was in a class where 4 other students walked in, in KKK costumes. Both my mother and I are white. It wasnt a matter of fear, it was a matter of feeling uncomfortableand disrespected. This is an example of another time when a teacher pushed her own non wisdom and abuse of power. She did not apologize for the act that was commited, she apologized for being caught. What she did was disrespectful and unconsiderate of her students.

    May 25, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  134. d s-painter

    this is not a matter of being made afraid. it's a matter of disrespect and making any student uncomfortable without any care. A great example of a teacher going rogue. an example of a another darkened spirited teacher that shouldn't be one because she lacks compassion. same reason that many other commentors can't understand you have to have compassion to understand compassion. That was not an apology she wants to go elsewhere off campus and do the same thing. a two day leave suspension with pay. joke, sounds like a bonus. Teachers rogue with no care for students step down. She wasn't wise. She was ignorant, apparently still is. Ii really hope law suit, well warranted. P.S. I'm white and away with the ignorant teachers who don't answer for their unethical actions to students, away bad witches away. I think palen may have a spot for you. i hope you make a line with other inconsiderate teachers who don't need to be one, unless you are trying to teach no feeling for others, congratulations, you did. The teacher's apology was about as real as my would be for this. Away darkened teachers away, all white on the outside – darkened within – with ignorance bliss

    May 25, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  135. jimi

    that was dumb of students and teacher, teacher fired students expelled. no ones afraid of kkk jass

    May 25, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
  136. Geronimo

    To think that the wearing of KKK robes to school, regardless of the assignment, would not be offensive simply reveals the ignorance of some people. The teacher expected her students to be thoughtful, responsible young adults, and that was her main mistake. These four pseudo-Kluxers knew what they were doing, and this probably meets the legal definition of a bias-motivated crime, malicious harassment, what's popularly known as a "hate-crime".

    May 26, 2010 at 2:22 am |
  137. Kathleen Wayman

    The teacher did not know what the kids would be dressed as when she made the assignment. I would recommend that she be more aware of what the kids are going to be dressed as before allowing them to participate.

    May 26, 2010 at 7:00 am |
  138. Briana

    I don't think either should be punished i just think it should stop. I don't thinks its right to scare someone because of the past. Whats done is done and its behind us so just look forward.

    May 26, 2010 at 7:28 am |
  139. John Tyler Erie, Pa

    Apparently there must still be a lot of racism in Georgia if Ku Klux Klan robes are that readily available and student would even consider wearing them. What values are being taught at home by the parents of these students.

    May 26, 2010 at 8:17 am |
  140. shelly king

    I watched in amazement as no one person mentioned the fact that the prominently displayed landscaping read INDIANS. Could it be that they are using a Native American Mascot? Native Americans have been fighting against the use of a mascot since the dawn of the mascot. Race issues in the United States is always seen in Black and White. Unless there is sensitivity shown to everyone you can't expect respect for humanity.

    May 26, 2010 at 9:23 am |
  141. MerryGoRound

    Some people do not think through the entire process and then are slow to react to the issues. Racism still runs rampant. Blacks vs. Whites, Whites vs. Blacks, Hispanics vs. Everybody, Everybody vs. Hispanics, and Everybody against the Native American. Native Americans have been discriminated against the most. To this day, the culture and heritage is diminished by the use of names, i.e. – Washington Redskins, Fighting Sioux, and the Cleveland Indians. have you ever heard of a called the Blackskins or Yellow-Bellies. It really comes down to people not respecting each others cultures and heritage.

    May 26, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
  142. Jeryl D

    As far as the teacher goes, it probably never crossed his/her mind that any parent would be dumb and/or thoughtless enough to let their children dress in KKK robes. Poor planning is about all I would lay at the teacher's feet unless it's found that he/she knew what was about to go down.

    While wearing the KKK robes was undoubtedly a mean-spirited, racist move on the part of the parents of those children, did the children actually violate a written policy?

    May 26, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  143. Steve

    Who is the one to choose history or not history?
    We should cover all aspects of our past. Mine involved Roman and Viking slayings, plus beheadings during up-evils.
    Jews talk about there treatments, and have museums to that effect.
    Talking about segregation while eliminating elements of events merely masks reality.

    May 26, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  144. Tracy

    I understand being scared. These feelings should be processed in the classrooom between students, within a safe environment that the teacher/instructor should ensure/facilitate. All from multiple perspectives , that is where healing will occur. Not to be swept under the rug, nor punished (unless there was true intentionality or malice of this occurence).

    May 26, 2010 at 8:42 pm |
  145. Kristi

    Saying this situation is no different than students demonstrating a slave uprising is shows extreme lack of insight. The dominant culture is still the caucasian culture. If African Americans were the dominant culture now, it may be a different issue with less threat and fear for the African American students. The teacher should have set clear parameters for this assignment regarding what was good teaching vs. what was potentially damaging. What would be an appropriate consequence is requiring the teacher and the students (wearing the robes) to formally apologize to the African American students on the local news station.

    May 26, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
  146. Steve

    The episode was a part of American history, it was not African American history.
    It was an action in history that took place, and it does not need our present day students to publicly apologize,
    Will we one day look back and ask African Americans to apologize for segregating there race from the name Americans?

    May 27, 2010 at 8:20 am |
  147. robobrain

    Its a odd state, the teacher should be suspended. The students should be better educated to show more compassion for their fellow students and show more respect for their history and the deaths and abuse that they have had in their families and ancestors from the Kl,K.K. Just think the recent study with our kids views on each other that was just conducted shocked America, well look at this and ask why!

    May 27, 2010 at 8:29 am |
  148. Marilyn

    I believe the teacher should have put parameters on the assignment.
    I think the teacher should be punished, such as being put on a "Growth Plan", where she/he is taught how to give an assignment. Although this is a part of Georgia history, it is also validating "hate". This teacher need to teach tolerance, and character education, and leave "hate" and "hate crimes" outside of the "hallow halls of education".
    There are a lot of things in history that we as Americans would like to forget and the KKK "hate gang" is one of them. Dressing up in "gang attaire" is not allowed in most schools. If the teacher is not punished, the school should get a repremand for allowing this "hate gang" attaire on their campus.

    May 27, 2010 at 10:34 am |
  149. Patricia Hickman

    If everyone would listen to the teacher, she's right, if we do not talk about racism it can never go away. I hope they do not censure her for doing her job. Just ask any family who lost a loved one to the KKK, it is a part of history, shameful part to be sure, but history none the less. What is worse, is the organization is still thriving.

    May 27, 2010 at 11:08 am |
  150. robobrain

    To me the reason the teacher said she let the students wear the robes just doesn't have any logic to it and does not comply. Does this mean they also should have cross burned, in the middle of the football field or have hung miniature nooses in the halls? She is lucky she didn't cause a riot, or even endangered the other students under her discretion or for that matter herself. If I was a parent of one of the students that participated and wore the kkk wardrobe. Or have a minority child that now feels the environment is not suitable for them to learn. Id File a large lawsuit against the district and that teacher. Teaching a lack of respect in the schools is not what I call teaching. How does she think she looks in the minority students eyes now? Could the actions done cause more damage to the attention of her lessons from the minority students as she has lost their faith in compassion and respect for their families elders history? As I once learned real history comes from home and a minorities elder or great grand parents can give the best real account. Most minority students are more educated then the other students already cause it happen to them, death knocked on their doors, hate filled their relatives ears and its passed down discussed at the table.

    May 28, 2010 at 9:51 pm |