Maybe it’s time for a show of hands among teachers: Who has allowed students to dress as Klan members, Nazis (Sandra Bullock’s lunkhead husband excluded) or Salem witch burners?
Second question: Who cares?
With the fresh news that a Gwinnett teacher also allowed her students to dress in Klan costumes, it may be time for an audit of how often historical reenactments are used in schools and whether there should be guidelines to student attire.
I suspect we are likely to hear of more students wearing Klan costumes for re-enactments in Georgia schools. I also fear that we will never see another class re-enactment of anything but “Goldilocks” after all this hoopla.
I still maintain that the costumes are appropriate if the lesson requires dramatizations of real-life events and if the point is to show the true nature of these hateful acts.
I still don’t get the outcry and the rushed conclusion that these teachers – one of whom is black — did something terribly wrong and that summits must be held and careers threatened.
A spokeswoman for Gwinnett County schools told the AJC that Stephanie Hunte, an 8th-grade social studies teacher at Sweetwater Middle School in Lawrenceville, allowed her students to wear KKK robes as part of a re-enactment last Thursday. Another teacher saw the students preparing for the re-enactment and told an administrator.
“The administrator told [Hunte] that this type of activity was not appropriate and would not take place,” spokeswoman Sloan Roach wrote in an e-mail.
However, school officials learned this week that Hunte had allowed “this same activity” in another class the day before, according to Roach.
“As a result of this information, we have launched a Human Resources investigation into the matter,” Roach told the AJC. “Ms. Hunte, who has been with GCPS since August 2006, was told to report to the Central Office this morning.”
Today is the last day of school. No disciplinary action has been taken.
Roach wrote that the re-enactment occurred as part of a social studies curriculum that covers “parts of our nation’s history, including Reconstruction, key political and social changes and the civil rights movement.”
The Gwinnett and Lumpkin cases are notable for their similarities, but also for one key difference: Hunte is black; the teacher in the Lumpkin County incident, Catherine Ariemma, is white.