Teacher Who Let Students Dress Like KKK Was Giving an Important History Lesson

Say What!? 17

Clark County School District officials in Las Vegas are not faulting a high school teacher for letting two kids dress up as members of the Ku Klux Klan for a U.S. history presentation.

It seems as though a couple of students were wearing their costumes outside of the classroom and got captured on social media. Because duh -- kids will be kids, and in today’s world, everything is documented digitally.

The students and teacher were not identified, but Principal Scott Walker of Las Vegas Academy sent home a letter after the incident that read:

While the presentation was designed to highlight the atrocities committed by the Klan, and there was no intention to harm or offend on the part of the students, it was in poor judgment and inappropriate for students to go to such lengths to convey their message.

Linda Young, a Clark County school trustee and only black and minority school board member, stated that the teacher has her support. She doesn’t believe the teacher meant any harm, and she hadn’t received any complaints from the public.

A big high-five to Ms. Young for not making this molehill into a politically correct mountain.

Here’s the thing about racism and the KKK -- that happened. No amount of glossing over history can take it back. It was awful and terrible and unfair and I’m sure the VAST majority of Americans today wish it wasn’t part of our history, but it is.

I think it’s important to teach our kids about the brutalities of the past, so they may hopefully not repeat them in the future. One of the best ways to learn something is through reenactment. Both the participants and the audience are able to retain knowledge that they ‘experienced’ rather than just read about in a dry history book for much longer than they would otherwise.

History teachers are supposed to teach kids about history, and that includes things like slavery, racism, and the Ku Klux Klan. To deny teachers the freedom to creatively teach their students about the past does a disservice to everyone.

What do you think about this teacher’s controversial teaching techniques?


Image via lee.ekstrom/Flickr

behavior, issues, news, school, tough topics

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lasombrs lasombrs

I see nothing wrong with dressing up for a presentation. I have for many in my school years. In college I went to class in full leather battle gear all Zena warrior princess style to discuss a tribe I was studying in an anthropology class. Of course I didn't wear it all day though I changed between classes and ran from the bathroom to class. Most likely these kids were trying to do the same thing and had a picture taken or someone saw them. I doubt they all wanted to wander around all day in the costumes and I doubt the teacher meant any harm

Rafiah Karam

Since re-enacting history is an effective way to learn about it. Another bad story from the past. Some of the slave owners when meting out punihment to slaves they felt deserved it,would take a barrel and hammer in nails, the nails would be be sticking out from the inside. They would force the black male or female slave to get inside and then roll the barrel down from the top of a steep hill.Now tell me since they want to get history over in a effective way will they re-enact that on  school grounds someday?

LostS... LostSoul88

something similar happened in Utah, the school dirtict got sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars

wamom223 wamom223

I don't think the teacher meant any harm and don't think its offensive.  I can see where dressing up would point out to the students how cowardly these men are to hide behind their pointy hooded masks.  The only way we wont repeat the past is to face our pasts.  To be proud of the good we are done and yes sometimes even disgusted by the bad we have done.  If nothing else if the students were joking around in the KKK garb they learned an important life lesson: there are things in our past we don't ever want to laugh about and the KKK's history is part of that.

Doomy234 Doomy234

As long as they meant no harm to anyone, I see nothing wrong with them dressing up for a presentation.

Bloom... Bloomie79

Let's start with the fact that the KKK is a current problem not just a historical one, that's why this would be a problem. Now as long as it was all done in the context of education I think it's just fine.

4evaD... 4evaDaddysGirl

Completely wrong! So years from now when teachers r teaching children about 9/11 it should b ok 4 kids 2 dress up like the terrorist who flew planes into building?!?! Come on People! Let me guess as long as there being taught NO BIG DEAL RIGHT....Bullshit~

nonmember avatar Guest reply

Rafiah, Can you honestly not see a difference between a costume and reenactment of grotesque physical abuse? Hiding from our the past (or present) isn't helpful. Children have also dressed up as Pilgrims and Indians... and they were able to learn a lesson without actually spreading smallpox via infected blankets.

Try some perspective.

DebaLa DebaLa

?  It's not even historically correct. Where are the re-enactments of the slave abuse thru atrocities to the present day to go with the KKK parts... who are they interacting with? If you're going to do a presentation as an educational tool, do it right. Real re-enactments include ALL 'the players.' Let's see how many are on-board then. Also, why were they allowed to wear the costumes after the presentation, and outside the classroom? I object to that. I'd be curious how Hitler will be handled in in the following chapters...

nonmember avatar sj.Powell

I agree if it would be wrong to mock 9/11 r even the shooting with the babies in Connecticut. It's not out of respect .

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