New Hampshire teacher suspended after video goes viral
DOVER, NH (WGME) -- A viral video has led to a teacher's suspension in New Hampshire.
School officials in Dover are investigating the clip, which appears to show students singing about the Ku Klux Klan, in a Christmas-themed song.
The assignment in the 11th-grade history class was to take an issue from post-Civil War America and put it in a Christmas song.
But the fun of the assignment was over when students sang about the Ku Klux Klan to the tune of “Jingle Bells.”
A biracial student filmed other students laughing about the KKK song on Friday.
"If you have seen the video, I think if you were a student of color, you would have been uncomfortable with what was taking place," Dover Schools Superintendent Bill Harbron said.
The teacher involved has been suspended with pay while officials investigate.
"First, to find out what were the different students' perspective of it,” Harbron said. “And then once we understand the students' perspective, we'll go back and have interviews with the teacher to understand all the dimensions of this lesson."
Dover residents say it's a case of communication breakdown.
"I think if the teacher knew what they were going to be doing and heard it he should've taken the time and initiative to sit them down in a private room and explain to them that this could be controversial in society," resident Al Demers said.
The Mayor of Dover says the incident could provide an opportunity to learn how better to teach issues regarding race.
"I would have probably, or I think I would've, stopped the singing before it really got going,” Mayor Karen Weston said. “I know it was a little over a minute and a half."
Administrators say they were already in the process of improving their training on issues of racial sensitivity. Since July, they've held professional workshops on the issues of white privilege and minority representation.