MONROE (WWJ/AP) – A Monroe Middle School teacher who had been suspended for one of his lessons on African American history and racial segregation laws has been reinstated.

Alan Barron, 59, showed a video to his eighth grade history class about how white entertainers used to wear black face to imitate blacks. An administrator sitting in with the class thought the lesson was racist.

Superintendent Barry Martin issued a statement on the district’s website saying this was a personnel matter that ended up being aired in public.

“As a result of incorrect information presented within the community, there is a perception that the district was opposed to a teacher providing students with information about the history of racial issues in this country,” the statement reads. “This simply is not true and is a misinterpretation of the concern. 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 teacher in question was placed on paid leave to give the district time to fully consider what occurred in this classroom.”

On Sunday, Barron’s lawyer C.J. Horkey issued a statement saying Barron was being allowed to return to the classroom on Monday.  When the school year is complete, Barron plans to retire after 36 years of teaching.

“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.”

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

  1. Interesting story – I find myself curious as to how this lesson was delivered exactly as there are important things to be learned about institutionalized racism from these entertainment examples. But it has to be delicately handled.

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