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When word began to spread regarding why a Monroe, Mich., middle school teacher was facing disciplinary action, many in the community expressed outrage over the perceived injustice of such a punishment.
Alan Barron was teaching a history lesson to his class; and during a segment regarding racial segregation, he showed a video depicting the use of blackface in minstrel shows performed by white Americans. Though what he presented was, by all accounts, an unbiased view of an actual historical phenomenon, the school decided he should be suspended for exposing students to the truth.
According to a parent of one of the students in the class, Baron’s presentation was in no way racist or offensive. In fact, the school’s desire to prevent kids from learning about this period of U.S. history struck her as far more inappropriate.
“She was more offended that they stopped the video,” Adrienne Aaron – whose husband is black – said of her daughter. “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?”
Barron, who is set to retire at the end of the school year, received widespread support from the community, including a T-shirt campaign and several social media protests.
According to one parent, Barron “has changed many children’s lives over the course of his career” and “would most definitely not have” taught anything he believed was offensive.
As part of his suspension, the beloved teacher was barred from all school activities – including a banquet that included recognition of retiring educators.
The 36-year veteran teacher added his own comments on the developing matter Sunday as a response to a Monroe News article.
“I have no words that can express my gratitude and thanks for the support you have shown toward me during this turbulent time of my career,” he wrote.
Barron concluded that his only desire was to “make a difference in my students lives and in my community,” explaining God has “granted me my wish and He knows that I have done that with His guidance and with integrity.”
Other commenters suggested the proximity of his retirement appeared to be an indication that the school was attempting to force him out without providing his pension.
Fortunately for the teacher and his numerous supporters, the school rescinded his punishment late Sunday evening, indicating the veteran teacher has been reinstated.
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom