Teacher removed from local charter school classroom after assignment to defend Ku Klux Klan

Posted at 6:19 PM, Dec 19, 2016

MILWAUKEE -- A Milwaukee charter school teacher has been removed from the classroom while the school looks into an assignment she gave students to defend the Ku Klux Klan.

One parent said she isn't sure she wants her seventh grader going to Business and Economics Academy of Milwaukee (BEAM) after the letter she got last week.

The letter described the assignment saying "When we return in January, students will watch the movie To Kill a Mockingbird and do a research paper on the history of the Ku Klux Klan. This paper will be a persuasive paper defending Klan members on trial. The research is being done leading into Black History Month 2017. The goal of this paper is not to teach the students the Klan was correct in their behavior, but rather to teach the students to write persuasively."

"My eyes got big and immediately got like, got angry," said Damaris Dorsey. Dorsey believes the assignment might be appropriate for older students who understand more of the history behind the Klan and their actions. She does not feel it's appropriate for her 7th grader.

"How do you have a 7th grade student take a side on someone who has hated out culture and our background and our ethnicity for so many years?" she said..

Dorsey reached out to the school last week. She said she heard from the teacher and an assistant principal, but did not feel their responses were adequate.

The BEAM administration released a statement saying they don't believe the teacher had any negative intent, but "BEAM feels that the objective of teaching students how to write persuasively is important.  However, we feel that the choice of topic is inappropriate for a 7th grade class.  A new topic will be selected for the assignment."

The teacher, who is African American, was removed from the classroom, according to the school, while they investigate the situation.