Georgia teacher in trouble over student Klan robes

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 6:31 AM
Last updated 9:43 AM
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A north Georgia teacher is on administrative leave and could lose her job after she allowed four students to don mock Ku Klux Klan outfits for a final project in a high school class Thursday, administrators said.

The sight of people in Klan-like outfits upset some black students at the school and led at least one parent to complain.

Catherine Ariemma, who teaches the advanced placement course combining U.S. history with film education, could face punishment ranging from suspension to termination, Lumpkin County School Superintendent Dewey Moye said Monday. Ariemma has spent nearly six years teaching in the rural county about 75 miles north of Atlanta.

She told The Associated Press Monday that students were covering an important and sensitive topic - but one that she might handle differently in the future.

"It was poor judgment on my part in allowing them to film at school," Ariemma said. "... That was a hard lesson learned."

The incident happened at Lumpkin County High School. Ariemma said her students spend the year viewing films and later create their own films to watch in class. She said the students brainstorm and pick topics to cover. This particular class decided to trace the history of racism in America.

She said the class has 15 students of multiple races, but no blacks.

A group of five students took on the subject, which included covering the history of the notorious white supremacist group which had large chapters in Stone Mountain, Ga. and Tuscaloosa, Ala. One student filmed and did not wear sheets, she said.

"The kids brought the sheets in, they had SpongeBob party hats underneath to make it shaped like a cone," Ariemma said. "They cut out the eyes so they could see."

Ariemma said she led the students through a cafeteria to another location where they shot the scene. Later, she said another teacher approached her.

"That's when I heard there were a couple of students who were upset," she said.

Ariemma said she wasn't able to find those students to explain the project to them.

Monday, student Cody Rider told Atlanta's WSB-TV that his cousin was among those who saw the group in white sheets and was frightened.

"I got mad and stood up and I tried to go handle it," he told the TV station.

Moye said a black parent went to the school to complain that evening.

Ariemma has no history of missteps at the school, Moye said, but administrators of the roughly 90 percent white school system are taking the incident seriously.

"This stuff happened in history. Do you ignore it? No," he said. "But you certainly don't walk the hallway in the garb."

Ariemma says administrators will review the film and decide if it will be shown in the classroom. She said the students who wore the sheets were shaken when they realized that other students were upset.

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johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 05/25/10 - 06:08 am
0
0
Kind of reminds me of the 6

Kind of reminds me of the 6 year old boy who was thrown from school for shaping his fingers like a gun and going "pow, pow" toward another student while playing cops and robbers. It's kind of obvious why so many politicians want to do away with the Department of Education and the teachers unions and all of the politically correct that is destroying education in America.

OnlyinAgs
1
Points
OnlyinAgs 05/25/10 - 06:24 am
0
0
I'm just glad the black

I'm just glad the black students in that class are up on their history and was aware of the HATE associated with those robes. Even today in 2010 young African Americans know the "stigma" of that particular group and it's confederate flag. Score one of the African American Students at that school.

nofrills
0
Points
nofrills 05/25/10 - 06:25 am
0
0
you can only change the

you can only change the future by remembering the past.

OnlyinAgs
1
Points
OnlyinAgs 05/25/10 - 06:25 am
0
0
Another thing that teacher

Another thing that teacher knew what she was doing, funny how they say I'll show better judgement next time when they are caught. Only in the south are people still backwards. This is exactly what the confederate flag will always be HATED/LOVED.

55 F-100
1
Points
55 F-100 05/25/10 - 06:42 am
0
0
This is a ridiculous story

This is a ridiculous story and the "emotional damage" that is alleged is so overblown.

gnumbgnuts
0
Points
gnumbgnuts 05/25/10 - 06:47 am
0
0
Would this have even been a

Would this have even been a story 20yrs ago? Suck up your "upset" and go back to class. No, your parents will have you in a bottom sucking lawyer's office by week's end. How times have changed.

OnlyinAgs
1
Points
OnlyinAgs 05/25/10 - 06:50 am
0
0
If anything those students

If anything those students and that teacher made Georgia KKK members and the national body proud with this stunt (hidden supposedly behind being a final class project). I'm sure the only negative thing you proud members would be upset about is the fact that it giving you BAD AND UNWANTED PUBLICITY.

corgimom
38720
Points
corgimom 05/25/10 - 07:12 am
0
0
You can't change history, and

You can't change history, and yes, Stone Mountain was very well-known for its Klan history.

If a high school student can't figure out that kids in robes in the cafeteria , led by the teacher, is some sort of project, then they are too stupid to be in high school.

justthefacts
25478
Points
justthefacts 05/25/10 - 07:13 am
0
0
Meanwhile two more blacks

Meanwhile two more blacks were gunned down in the streets of the ole ATL last night. One 16 yrs old. Just another day.

gnumbgnuts
0
Points
gnumbgnuts 05/25/10 - 07:14 am
0
0
This is the face of confusion

This is the face of confusion in response to a 7:52 post. DUH?

Indigo
4
Points
Indigo 05/25/10 - 07:18 am
0
0
ANY group or ANY person who

ANY group or ANY person who says "Here, put this HOOD on", there is going to be trouble. Why not do a reenacting of a mob hit next week with machine guns?

isaidit
0
Points
isaidit 05/25/10 - 07:21 am
0
0
Walking the kids in KKK

Walking the kids in KKK get-ups thru the cafeteria was very very bad judgement on her part. Someone of her education level is aware of the negative and frightening affect this parade would cause, and should be punished for involving these students in this shocking and deliberate racist display. Is the black parent and one other teacher the only adults upset with this teacher's brazzen act, and not to mention the serious distraction to the students unaffiliated with and unaware of her "class project". Send a message that this will not be tolerated. What's the next scene in this history lesson......Panthers, Bloods and Crips parading through the halls??!! Is she in her right mind??

LynxRHot
0
Points
LynxRHot 05/25/10 - 07:30 am
0
0
Yes, it was bad judgment.

Yes, it was bad judgment. But get over it! Students can wear "It's a black thing" t-shirts, "I'm black and I'm proud" t-shirts and no one gets upset about that. Racism runs in both directions. Suck it up and move on.

burninater
9943
Points
burninater 05/25/10 - 07:37 am
0
0
The KKK are historically as

The KKK are historically as much a terrorist organization as the idiots that blow themselves up in the name of Islam. If that teacher had marched kids dressed as jihadis through the lunchroom, all of you shrugging and saying no big deal would be apoplectic right now. And before you sputter and say it's different, jihadis want to destroy America, well the KKK stands for exactly the same thing. America is a country of diversity and freedom of ideals, and the KKK exists to destroy that. That teacher needed to communicate the project to the school and student body, so that it could have been done in such a way that noone misunderstood the reason for Klan-garbed individuals marching through the lunchroom.

ripjones
2
Points
ripjones 05/25/10 - 07:47 am
0
0
I agree, corgimom. If you

I agree, corgimom. If you trace the KKK back, before they became white supremists (sp?) and stupid, they actually did some good deeds. They would "punish" wife beaters, and run carpet-baggers out of town and such. It is a shame that they took up the Confederate flag as their mantle, since that piece of my heritage is tainted forever. Stupid Klan, and stupid skin-heads. Good ones are dead ones.

RAINBOW
11
Points
RAINBOW 05/25/10 - 07:50 am
0
0
why take such an offense to

why take such an offense to history?History will always be here,and thats just what it is,history.Its not like we are still living in the past,even though some people seem to think we are.The KKK was years ago,but some want to keep it alive as if it was happening today,its past,teach your children good things.

justthefacts
25478
Points
justthefacts 05/25/10 - 07:51 am
0
0
burn, you're wrong. If my

burn, you're wrong. If my kid's teacher dressed up some kids as jihadis in an attempt to show how ugly terrorism is, I would nominate her for teacher of the year.

rmajor
8
Points
rmajor 05/25/10 - 07:51 am
0
0
55-F 100, you are the reason

55-F 100, you are the reason why there is hate today. I don't care if it was a mock up of the Holocaust or other demonstration of oppression, it is absolutely calous of you to have such a cavalier attitude towards racism. Wow! People are so afraid of what's different and their supremist attitudes always comes through no matter how "civil" they pretend to be. Sickening. I love EVERYONE, and anyone who is hurt by bigotry does have emotional back lash. I guess fortunately for you, you never had to experience anything like this so it's easy for you to sit behind a internet icon and speak your true self.

keylime05
0
Points
keylime05 05/25/10 - 08:24 am
0
0
I am not surprised that so

I am not surprised that so many people think that this is no big deal. Well being black myself, it is to me. Having lived in Kentucky for six years, the Klan would have their marches in the neighboring city and black people were "advised" to stay indoors. Mind you this was just seven years ago. I have had to drive past signs proclaiming "Klan Kountry" and a multitude of other things. I find it absolutely appalling that the teacher would even find this acceptable, but I am supposed to "suck it up." I guess if you have never had a personal encounter with the KKK that this is just simply history, but until you have, it is much more than that.

bankgirl
0
Points
bankgirl 05/25/10 - 08:28 am
0
0
OnlyinAqs- The Confederate

OnlyinAqs- The Confederate flag has nothing to do with the Klan. The Confederate flag was the flag of the south during a time in which the north and south were fighting over slavery (Civil War). And before anyone gets off on going about how the south is so horrible and racist lets remember that the only reason most of the north states decided against slavery was so they could keep their slaves. Yes, they had to pay them but it was very minimum. Kind of like why businesses hire Mexican immigrants.
As for the article I believe this whole situation was blown way out of proportion. History is there for us to learn from our mistakes. These kids choose to show through film how Klan members are ignorant jerks.

confederate american
0
Points
confederate american 05/25/10 - 08:30 am
0
0
Onlyinags-You have a thing

Onlyinags-You have a thing about the klan and the battle flag,but i never hear you say anything about the American flag that they carry,it is there main flag also the flag that flew over slave ships for 80 years

rmajor
8
Points
rmajor 05/25/10 - 08:38 am
0
0
These same people talking

These same people talking about get over it, etc. Trust me, if we were sitting face to face in a lunch breakroom or public forum showing them the horrors of all events...slavery, Holocaust, KKK, they would be talking about how terrible it is. Or they may just say nothing and vent their racism in mediums like this. However, true feelings always come forth when people can hide. Just like this teacher, no black students were in her class, so she felt she could get away with this. Yes, I teach my child about ALL history, and he has friends of all races, however, I would be such an idiot as to have him wear a mock up of some racist costume to teach them about racism when they are dressing up as heroes. That's not the way to do that with this age group. Now if there is a documentary or something like Roots (adults can see this, not children mind you) and adults of all races want to discuss in a forum or something...ok. It's just common sense and respect. Teaching is one thing....disrespecting and idolizing a way of life is another. If I respect someone in the least, I will go out of my way to make sure I don't offend them because I truly care about them or I will ask them. This was just inconsiderate in every way.

seenitB4
98537
Points
seenitB4 05/25/10 - 08:47 am
0
0
Can we erase all of history??

Can we erase all of history?? No don't think so. The teacher wasn't promoting the kkk, mistake to wear it through public places,, maybe. Like Corgi said...high school kids should realize what was going on with the teacher there also...
Too bad we can't get upset over inner city kids KILLING each other like we get upset over a flag & robe.

confederate american
0
Points
confederate american 05/25/10 - 08:58 am
0
0
Seenitb4-Thats why the NAACP

Seenitb4-Thats why the NAACP is a failure,they don't address the real problems of black people,black on black crime,drop outs,two parents in the home,drugs,aids etc etc,they run around all over the country spending all the peoples hard earned money on trying to remove a flag.

OnlyinAgs
1
Points
OnlyinAgs 05/25/10 - 09:16 am
0
0
Funny how the NAACP is a

Funny how the NAACP is a failure in WHITE eyes only, go figure. I guess the KKK and it's confederate flags is a SUCCESS. PLEASE

InChristLove
22485
Points
InChristLove 05/25/10 - 09:25 am
0
0
I have to agree with corgimom

I have to agree with corgimom and seenitb4, these are high school students, not 5th graders. One of the five students was not in a robe, what did the students think was going on. I'm sure the non-robed guy probably had a camera in his hand to do the filming. And why couldn't the teacher find the students who got upset so she could explain what was going on.....BEFORE someone went to the media. "Monday, student Cody Rider told Atlanta's WSB-TV that his cousin was among those who saw the group in white sheets and was frightened. "I got mad and stood up and I tried to go handle it," he told the TV station. What did this student think he was going to do? Maybe if he had been able to approach the students and teacher and they could have explained that it was a project to trace the history of racism in America. Wouldn't it have been better for the APC students to sit down with the black students who were upset and possibly included the dialogue in the student's film....seems to me it would have made a good impact to the students watching the film later.

Bantana
2071
Points
Bantana 05/25/10 - 09:36 am
0
0
Once again, an adult that is

Once again, an adult that is supposed to teach our children to become educated adults has demonstrated an utter lack of intelligence. I can only imagine what would have happened if a similar stunt was pulled in an inner city school. As for the Confederate flag, my Augusta high school removed the Georgia state flag in 1970. A few students grumbled, but it was mostly forgotten after a couple of weeks. It's a real shame that Roy Barnes, one of our best Governors, was voted out because of his stance regarding the state flag.

Jillian
2
Points
Jillian 05/25/10 - 09:48 am
0
0
It's pretty bad when the

It's pretty bad when the student's are more intelligent than the teacher.
That teacher needs to be fired for being so stupid.

bettyboop
8
Points
bettyboop 05/25/10 - 10:01 am
0
0
Much ado about

Much ado about nothing....Students who take AP courses have a quest for knowledge above their grade levels...a desire to study and learn....I noticed that the students who were "emotionally disturbed"by the actors were not in that class....What better way to show the horrors of the clan than through film....sit the scared ones down and show them the film...but that would not have caused the big stink now would it?...Wonder which of emotionally scarred students parents are going to sue first?.....

seenitB4
98537
Points
seenitB4 05/25/10 - 10:19 am
0
0
This sorta reminds me of the

This sorta reminds me of the blue-eye brown-eye experiment.Google it if you aren't familiar with it....very telling how fast anyone can get caught up in racism for any reason...even eye color...this teacher was also trying to TEACH .. Much ado was made over that too, but eventually her tests were used in business classes teaching adults diversity..We can't change history only learn from it.

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