A history teacher has been suspended after showing his students a video on the use of blackface.
Alan Barron, 59, is a history teacher at Monroe Middle School who is retiring this year. He was placed on paid administrative leave after an assistant principal sat in on his class and found his lesson plan to be offensive and racist.
Barron was teaching his students about the Jim Crow racial segregation laws.
What was found offensive and racist by the administrator was the use of a video that showed how white people used to use blackface to imitate blacks for entertainment purposes in the 1800s.
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The video was stopped during the class due to its content, an occurrence that upsets one of Barron’s students parents, Adrienne Aaron.
Aaron’s husband is Black, and she supports Barron showing the video to the class because it is part of history. She claims her daughter was not offended by the video and that the subject needs to be discussed, reports Monroe News.
“She was offended that they stopped the video,” Aaron said. “It had nothing to do with racism. History is history. We need to educate our kids to see how far we’ve come in America. How is that racism?”
Support has been shown towards 36-year teacher Barron from parents and students.
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A student has made and distributed T-shirts supporting Mr. Barron and parents have taken to social media to express their support.
“Mr. Barron is one of the…great teachers we have in Monroe Public Schools,” one parent wrote in a letter distributed on Facebook. “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.”
USA Today reports that while Barron is on suspension he cannot attend district functions. That includes an annual banquet where retiring teachers are honored.
Comments have not been made on the matter by the School District or Barron while the investigation is still pending.