- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 1, 2014

A teacher at a southeast Michigan middle school was reportedly suspended only two weeks before he was set to retire after an assistant principal decided a lesson he gave on black history was racist and offensive.

Alan Barron, an eighth-grade history teacher at Monroe Middle School, was giving a lesson on the Jim Crow laws, when he introduced a video demonstrating how white people used blackface to imitate blacks for entertainment during the 1800s, The Monroe News reported.

According to parents, an assistant principal deemed the video was offensive and racist. Mr. Barron was reportedly suspended the next day.
“[My daughter] was more offended that they stopped the video,” parent Adrienne Aaron told the newspaper. “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?”

“It’s so sad this has happened to [Mr. Barron],” Mrs. Aaron said. “He’s one of the best teachers we’ve had. We can’t believe that this is happening.”

The Monroe School District wouldn’t acknowledge that Mr. Barron was suspended and only stated that he is “on leave,” The Monroe News reported.

Mr. Barron has been on leave for about a week while we look into a reported situation in his classroom,” the district said in a statement. “Because this is a personnel matter that is going through the teacher- contract required steps, we cannot comment any further.”

Parents and students have been rallying behind the teacher and campaigning on social media for his reinstatement.

Mr. Barron is one of the … great teachers we have in Monroe Public Schools,” one parent wrote in a letter that was distributed through Facebook, the newspaper reported. “He has changed many children’s lives over the course of his career. If Mr. Barron felt that he was teaching something that was offensive, he would most definitely not have done it.”