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Thursday, March 4, 2010

3 White Teachers Removed From Class Over Black Hero Choices


Three Los Angeles elementary school teachers accused of giving children portraits of O.J. Simpson, Dennis Rodman and RuPaul to carry in a Black History Month parade have been removed from their classrooms,
Children from other classes at the school displayed photos of more appropriate black role models, such as Nelson Mandela, Harriet Tubman and President Barack Obama,
District Superintendent Ramon Cortines placed the teachers — all white men who teach first, second and fourth grades — on administrative leave on Tuesday while an investigation is conducted, Pollard-Terry said.
“The superintendent will not let anyone make a mockery out of Black History Month,” she said.
The issue was brought to district officials’ attention by the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP after the organization received a complaint early Monday, chapter President Leon Jenkins said.
Jenkins said he felt the teachers acted in concert to mock black heroes and children’s innocence.
“These are not the people we want our young people to emulate or believe these people represent the best of the African-American community,” Jenkins said. “It’s hard for the NAACP to believe this was a mistake.”
Simpson, a former NFL star, is serving a nine-year prison sentence for robbery and kidnapping. He was famously acquitted in 1995 of murdering his ex-wife and her friend.
RuPaul is a drag queen performer.
Rodman, a former NBA star, has gained notoriety for bad boy behavior on and off the basketball court.
Some parents at the school on Wednesday said the issue was overblown. Sharon Tinson, who has two daughters at the school and attended Friday’s celebration, said she had been surprised to see Simpson displayed in the parade. But she noted that Simpson, like Rodman, was a great athlete before falling from grace. RuPaul simply has an alternative lifestyle, she added.  She noted the event also included a tribute to pop singer Michael Jackson, who has also had a checkered career.More



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