Kids' Black History Month Nixed by L.A. Schools

The teacher in our story last week was playing it safe when she told her students that their biographies for Black History Month could include "No athletes, and no entertainers." It seems like a common caveat to us; our own teachers through out elementary school said exactly the same thing to us many years ago for similar assignments.

But the Daily News reports that a few teachers in California didn't get this unofficial memo, and had their students hold up portraits of O.J. Simpson, Dennis Rodman and RuPaul in a Black History Month parade.

The three teachers -- all white men, in a school that is 90 percent Latino -- have been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, according to the article.

The AP quotes a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Unified School District: "The superintendent will not let anyone make a mockery out of Black History Month." She says children from other teachers' classes displayed portraits of "more appropriate black role models, such as Nelson Mandela, Harriet Tubman and President Obama."

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(President Obama? Does the LAUSD really think he'll be a less controversial choice for any school assignment? In this country? A lot of people think he's just a celebrity too.)

The AP says that the situation came to the attention of LAUSD after a complaint was filed by the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP. Of RuPaul, Simpson and Rodman, local chapter President Leon Jenkins tells the AP, "These are not the people we want our young people to emulate or believe these people represent the best of the African-American community." Of the reason they were picked, he adds, "It's hard for the NAACP to believe this was a mistake."

Jenkins is calling for the teachers involved to be fired. The AP reports that at least "some parents at the school on Wednesday said the issue was overblown."

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