KKK robes in Las Vegas classroom spark controversy

After a photo of a student dressed in a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood surfaced on social media, the school received complaints and questions from the community.

A class presentation on U.S. history involving students dressed up in Ku Klux Klan robes has sparked protests and even outrage in a Las Vegas school district.

The Las Vegas Sun reported that two juniors at the Las Vegas Academy decided to dress in the KKK costumes after receiving permission from their social studies teacher for a class assignment which asked students to contribute by either writing a paper, creating an art or dance piece or performing a first-person narrative.

But one of the students wore the white robe and hooded mask outside the classroom, which the Sun said was allegedly against the teacher's wishes. When a photograph of the student in the robe went viral in the school community, it led to questions and complaints.

However, school district officials and community members are saying that it's not the teacher's fault for allowing the students to dress in KKK costumes.

The school's principal, Scott Walker, issued a letter to parents on Jan. 11 calling the Jan. 9 incident "unfortunate" and "inappropriate." Walker said that the academy was reviewing its internal procedures.

“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,” Walker said in his letter to parents.

“I am deeply saddened that LVA, which prides itself on providing a supportive learning environment for all, was the site of any action that could cause sadness and anger for our school family," Walker continued. "We are deeply sorry for this offensive incident and appreciate your support and cooperation as we use these events as teachable moments about cultural and historical understanding."

Neither the teacher nor the student were identified and the school district said that the student wasn't disciplined.

A number of students, teachers and parents backed the high school teacher at a Thursday meeting. "This teacher has my support," said Clark County school Trustee Linda Young, the board's only minority member. Young said that she believed the teacher meant no harm.

Las Vegas Academy found itself in the middle of controversy last year when theater students used the N-word during a production of Huckleberry Finn.

 

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