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updated: 5/31/2014 2:19 PM

Michigan teacher suspended after segregation lesson

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Associated Press

MONROE, Mich. -- A southeast Michigan public school teacher has been removed from the classroom while district officials look into whether a lesson plan on African-American history and racial segregation laws was inappropriate.

Alan Barron was placed on paid leave nearly two weeks ago 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, according to The Monroe News.

An assistant principal sat in on the history class as Barron, 59, discussed Jim Crow laws and showed the video.

"Mr. Barron has been on leave ... while we look into a reported situation in his classroom," the district said this week in a statement. "Because this is a personnel matter that is going through the teacher-contract required steps, we cannot comment any further."

Barron also is supervisor of Monroe Township, about 35 miles southwest of Detroit.

As part of his suspension, Barron can't attend an annual banquet for retiring teachers or other district functions.

Adrienne Aaron, whose daughter is in Barron's class, said he simply was teaching history and that racial segregation is a subject that should be discussed with students.

"It had nothing to do with racism. History is history," Aaron told the newspaper. "We need to educate our kids to see how far we've come in America. How is that racism?

"It's so sad this has happened to him. He's one of the best teachers we've had."

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