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Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Catherine Ariemma, Georgia high school teacher, in hot water after students wear KKK robes in school

A Georgia history teacher could be fired after allowing four students to wear mock Ku Klux Klan attire for their final project.

Catherine Ariemma, who teaches an advanced placement course that combines U.S. history and film at Lumpkin County High School, was suspended after four teens wore the inflammatory white robes through the school's cafeteria, according to The Associated Press.

Several black students at the school, about 75 miles north of Atlanta, were incensed, and at least one parent complained.

Lumpkin County School Superintendent Dewey Moye said that Ariemma, who has taught at the school for six years, was placed on administrative leave.

Ariemma's students watch films pertaining to U.S. history and at the end of the year choose a theme on which they base their own final projects. Her class chose to take on racism and its roots this year, she said.

"This stuff happened in history," Moye told The AP. "Do you ignore it? No. But you certainly don't walk the hallway in the garb."

Ariemma said the teens brought white sheets and cone-shaped party hats to school and that she took them through the cafeteria to another area to shoot their film. A fellow teacher confronted Ariemma afterward.

"That's when I heard there were a couple of students who were upset," Ariemma told The AP.

Cody Rider, a student at Lumpkin County High School, told Atlanta's WSB-TV on Monday that he and his cousin saw the students walk through the cafeteria in the robes and were upset.

Ariemma said that while she felt the students were addressing an important issue in American history, she told The AP that it "was poor judgment on my part in allowing them to film at school. … That was a hard lesson learned."
NY Daily News