Tuesday, March 9, 2010

3 L.A. teachers suspended over O.J., RuPaul photos in black history parade

Three white Los Angeles elementary school teachers have been suspended for giving children pictures of O.J. Simpson, Dennis Rodman and Ru Paul to carry in a Black History Month parade last week, the Associated Press reports. African Americans want the school district to fire the men.

A district spokeswoman said the teachers at Wadsworth Elementary School, where the majority of the students are Latino, could have made more appropriate choices, such as Oprah Winfrey. Civil rights activists said the choices made a mockery of black history and reinforced racial stereotypes.

"Their selection goes beyond ignorance. It speaks to arrogance and racism," said Rev. Eric Lee, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of greater Los Angeles.

The Friday parade included children from several classes who carried photos of President Obama, Nelson Mandela and Harriet Tubman.

The three unidentified male teachers were placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

L.A. Unified School District Superintendent Ramon Cortines told the local ABC affiliate he has asked that the teachers be suspended without pay.

"It was sick, and I have taken the strongest action I can take," he said.

(Posted by Michael Winter)

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