White Teacher Reinstated After Blackface Lesson

The Michigan middle school teacher was suspended after showing his eighth-grade history class a video about blackface.

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Alan Barron

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A Michigan middle school teacher's suspension for teaching his eighth-grade class about blackface has ended after almost two weeks. Alan Barron returned to his job at Monroe Middle School on Monday, CBS Detroit reports.

Barron, 59, was showing his class a video about how white entertainers used to put on blackface to imitate black people. The administrator sitting in on the class stopped the lesson, declaring it racist.

This led parents and students in the community to rally behind the teacher, and their protests appear to have gotten results. Barron was reinstated, and CBS Detroit reports that Monroe Public Schools Superintendent Barry Martin issued a statement on the district's website, saying that there was a misunderstanding about the approach to the sensitive topic.

"As a result of incorrect information presented within the community, there is a perception that the district was opposed to a teacher providing students with information about the history of racial issues in this country," the statement read. "This simply is not true and is a misinterpretation of the concern. Monroe Public Schools, following Michigan curriculum, requires and values the teaching of African American history and issues of race as part of our social studies instruction. The teacher in question was placed on paid leave to give the district time to fully consider what occurred in this classroom."

Barron's lawyer confirmed to CBS Detroit that the teacher, who plans to retire at the end of this school year after 36 years of teaching, would be back in school. "He looks forward to spending the final three weeks of his career doing what he loves, teaching the young people of Monroe," C.J. Horkey said in a statement, according to CBS. "He also wants to thank this wonderful community for its support though this difficult situation."

Read more at CBS Detroit.