An Alabama sixth-grade teacher has been suspended after she reportedly instructed students to reenact the Ferguson shooting in class, according to the Selma Times-Journal.
A parent posted on a community Facebook page that her son came home from Brantley Elementary School and said the teacher “made them reenact” the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, and that “the white students had to play the police officer.”
“She even has them get on the Internet and research how many times the young man was shot where he was shot at,” Jessica Baughn posted. “That is absurd to me then you turn around and make them reenact every bit of it including the shooting…Then sit in class and tells them our black children can not walk in their own neighborhood without white people shooting them and she hated to sound racist but whatever.”
Dallas County Schools Superintendent of Education Don Willingham told the Times-Journal he interviewed the school’s principal and the teacher and said the teacher had been doing a lesson on current events when someone brought up the Missouri shooting. He told the newspaper the class performed a “skit” about it, but didn’t say whose idea it was or what it involved.
“We wish the conversation didn’t have to take place, but it’s been reported to us and we’re addressing it as quick as we can,” Willingham told the newspaper.
The teacher has not been publicly identified, but has been placed on paid administrative leave until more interviews with students are conducted.
“I did put the teacher on administrative leave with pay, because we wanted to do the investigation,” Willingham said. “It’s standard procedure.”
The city of Ferguson, Missouri, has been rocked by days of protests after the unarmed Brown, who was black, was fatally shot by white police officer Darren Williams on Aug. 9.
Principal Audrey Strong said the school’s culture “does not support division.”
“We do recognize diversity, but we do not support division. Our culture is a strong culture,” she said.
Baughn, who wrote the initial Facebook post, told the Selma Times-Journal the shooting isn’t something that “needs to be talked about at school at all, let alone reenacted.”
“It scares me as a parent, because any one of those children could have picked up their aunt, uncle, grandma or whoever’s gun and pointed it at another child and it went off accidentally,” she said.