Prior to segregation being outlawed by the Supreme Court in 1968, conditions for African-Americans living in the United States were atrocious. And while we can’t deny that racial discrimination is still very much a factor even in 2015, it might be difficult for youth growing up in today’s society to fathom just how bad things used to be in this country.
So, as an educator of American history, how can one properly convey the horrors of segregation and discrimination to young people? One Indiana social studies teacher demonstrated how not to teach students last week. The unidentified Concord High School teacher decided to give students (and the whole school, for that matter) a real “taste” for what segregation was like, by hanging “whites only” and “blacks only” signs around the school.
Unfortunately for the teacher, administrators at Concord High were not exactly cool with that idea, and he or she has since been put on suspension. The superintendent subsequently gave a statement about the incident.
As part of a social studies course assignment during the first hour class, a high school teacher instructed students to place several signs in the high school hallway near bathrooms and drinking fountains stating “Blacks Only” and “Whites Only,” in an effort to demonstrate the feel of government sanctioned segregation that previously existed in portions of our country.
Concord Community Schools appreciates its educators attempting to be innovative in their teaching approach. However, methods and tactics that can be viewed as harassing or discriminatory to students and teachers are not appropriate and are prohibited in our schools.
When I was in 11th grade, my teacher had us watch Forrest Gump! How’s that for an idea? Maybe kids today don’t get that full, enriching pre-1960s experience, but hey! Everybody gets to keep their job!