Posted Oct. 1, 2007 – Did a lesson on racism at a Grambling State University-run school go too far when a noose was placed around the neck of at least one small child?
The president of the historically Black college, who wants a full investigation, thinks so –and he's got a number of parents backing him saying he's taking the right action. On the flip side, there are some parents, who witnessed the lesson, who say it was safe and supports what the teachers were doing.
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In an article posted online by the university's newspaper, The Gramblinite, Kindergarten and first-grade students at Alma J. Brown Elementary School were being taught about why nooses are symbols of racism as part of a lesson about the "Jena 6." That's the group of six Black students in the tiny Louisiana town of Jena who are facing serious charges for allegedly attacking a White classmate – after nooses were hung from a tree at the school.
Several pictures, including the one above, show a young girl in a school uniform being held up by a woman, while another person, who is mostly hidden by a tree, holds a noose around her neck and up to a branch.
University President Horace Judson said that when he got a glimpse of the pictures, which were posted online by the campus’ student paper, he was "outraged" and ordered they be immediately taken down, along with the story.
"This is very serious. I will say that,” Judson told The News Star of Monroe, La., in a phone interview. “I’ll have a face-to-face meeting with everyone involved. We’re going to find out what the facts are. At this point I don’t know if my students were involved.
“These are minors at our school, and this is a student paper that still must practice complete accountability,” he said, adding that given the nature of the situation, it was certainly his judgment to take the pictures down.
Meanwhile, a woman who identified herself as Irene Booker, posted a comment on the Gramblinite's Web site on Friday saying this was merely a lesson to inform the students about the racist symbol of hate.
"Yes, it was a rope around the little girl's neck. It was a [safe] demonstration as to what the rope symbolized to Blacks. This was my granddaughter, and she along with so many of the other students did not understand the intimidation of the noose. I held her in my arms, and she knows that I would not harm her or put her life in danger. In order to understand racism one must experience it to make the connection."
One teacher has been placed on leave, while three others are being investigated.
Did the elementary school go too far with their lesson? Click “Discuss Now,” to the right, to post your comment.
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