A Wisconsin Middle School teacher was briefly suspended after showing a video about white actors wearing blackface in history class. Al Barron, a teacher at Monroe Middle School, was suspended while the school district investigated his teaching methods of African American history.
The 59-year-old teacher, who is retiring in two weeks, has taught in the district for over three decades. The suspension occurred after an assistant principal saw Baron teaching his eighth-grade class. Barron’s topic for the day was racial segregation laws during the Jim Crow era. The lesson included a video which showed how white actors using.
The assistant principal thought Barron’s lesson about how entertainers used to be racist was itself racist, according to the local paper. The assistant principal also apparently ordered that Barron stop the video as it was being played.
Baron was then suspended for two weeks. But parents were not in agreement.
Adrienne Aaron, who has a daughter in the class, spoke with the Monroe News.
“It had nothing to do with racism,” Aaron (whose husband is black) said. “History is history. We need to educate our kids to see how far we’ve come in America. How is that racism?”
“He’s one of the best teachers we’ve had,” Aaron added. “We can’t believe that this is happening.”
Sunday night, the school district reinstated Baron and he will be back in class today.
The following is a statement from his attorney CJ Horkey: “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.”