A photograph of a student dressed as a KKK member for a history class at Niles High School in Michigan on March 31 has stirred controversy (video below).
The picture of the student dressed as a Klansman went viral after being posted on the social media app Snapchat and circulating on Facebook.
"You look at all the different things that's going on around the country already with race relations, and you don't think that you'd have to be dealing with that kind of stuff here," Pastor Bryant Bacon, of Mount Calvary Baptist Church, told WBND.
"When you see that, it kind of raises some questions about what's really going on around here," Bacon added.
A public relations firm representing Niles High School issued a statement on April 1. Niles Community Schools released the statement to WNDU:
While reenacting a series of educational skits for a U.S. history class, one group of Niles High School students chose to explore topics related to racism. As part of their in class skit, they included props and costumes set during specific decades. The inclusion of these props and costumes was highly inappropriate and insensitive. An investigation into the approval process for the skits and related classroom oversight is underway.
Niles Community Schools and Niles High School understands the extreme sensitivity around this issue and does not condone or support this type of reenactment. Niles High School administration is committed to supporting diversity and fostering an environment to encourage future student success. We sincerely apologize to our entire community for this incident.
"Everybody's not gonna see it that way," Bacon told WBND. "They're not gonna see it as a classroom project. They're gonna see it as something that's racial and sensitive."
"Now, you know this doesn't work," Bacon added. "If we're going to address these issues, then the teachers need to be trained a little bit better in how they address these issues, so it does not create any kind of tension."
The history class teacher said that he was not allowed to speak on-camera, but said off-camera that he was upset by the controversy.