Race

Michigan Teacher Reinstated After Blackface History Lesson

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A Michigan middle school teacher, who was suspended just before his retirement for showing a blackface video during an African American history lesson, was reinstated this week.

Monroe Middle School teacher Alan Barron will be back in the classroom Monday after a two-week suspension, according to Monroe News.

"Mr. Baron is very pleased that he will be allowed to return to the classroom tomorrow and the students that he has dedicated the past 36 years of his career to. He looks forward to spending the final 3 weeks of his career doing what he loves, teaching the young people of Monroe. He also wants to thank this wonderful community for its support though this difficult situation,” his attorney C.J. Horkey said in a statement.

The school district has completed an investigation after Barron, 59, allegedly presented a video of white people dressed in blackface during a lesson, and an administrator sitting in on his class felt it was racist.

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“It had nothing to do with racism. History is history,” parent Adrienne Aaron said of the lesson plan.

District Superintendent Barry Martin said Michigan public schools value the teaching of race issues in social studies classrooms and the district is not “opposed to a teacher providing students with information about the history of racial issues in this country.

“Monroe Public Schools, following Michigan curriculum, requires and values the teaching of African American history and issues of race as part of our social studies instruction,” Martin said in a statement on the district’s website. “The teacher in question was placed on paid leave to give the district time to fully consider what occurred in this classroom. After two weeks, the school board disagreed and Barron will be back to work today. But only for another three weeks – the teacher is retiring after 36 years.”

Sources: Monroe News, CBS Detroit