Teacher reinstated after suspension for segregation lesson

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MONROE, Mich. (AP) — A southeast Michigan public school teacher who was removed from the classroom while district officials looked into whether a lesson plan on African-American history and racial segregation laws was inappropriate has been reinstated, his lawyer said.

Alan Barron was placed on paid leave last month after an eighth-grade history class at Monroe Middle School was shown a video of how white entertainers once used black face paint to imitate blacks, the Monroe News reported.

Barron’s lawyer, C.J. Horkey, issued a statement Sunday saying Barron was being allowed to return to the classroom.

“He looks forward to spending the final three weeks of his career doing what he loves, teaching the young people of Monroe,” Horkey said in a statement. “He also wants to thank this wonderful community for its support though this difficult situation.”

Superintendent Barry Martin said in a statement on the Monroe Public Schools’ website that paid leave was used to give the district time to “fully consider what occurred in this classroom.” He said it was a personnel matter that ended up being aired in public.

“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 statement said.

In a recorded message to employees, Martin said there is a mistaken perception “that the district was opposed to a teacher providing students with information about the history of racial issues in this country. This simply is not true.”

Martin told The Associated Press in an email that Barron was asked to report to school Monday.

An assistant principal sat in on the history class as Barron, 59, discussed Jim Crow laws and showed the video. Barron, who is expected to retire this year after 36 years in the district, also is supervisor of Monroe Township, about 35 miles southwest of Detroit.

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