“There was nothing ‘implicit’ about it,” said one person on Facebook. “This was an overt show of racism.”
by Keka Araujo
A history assignment at Dover High School in New Hampshire gave some students the idea that it would be appropriate to spew racist vitriol to the tune of “Jingle Bells.”
The assignment which was for an 11th grade U.S. History class, had students change the lyrics to a Christmas jingle to tell a story about Reconstruction. Two students in the class, who represented the Ku Klux Klan, thought that it would be a good idea to alter the lyrics to include “Let’s Kill All the Blacks” and “White masks on our heads, blood beneath our feet, laughing till they’re dead — ha, ha, ha.”
A biracial student in the class was uncomfortable as well as offended by the lyrics.
Chloe Harris, the student in question, expressed her concerns to the teacher but because she feared nobody would believe her. So she decided to whip out her cellphone and record the incident. The video has now been taken down.
“I went to the teacher,” said Harris. “I said I’m not really comfortable with these lyrics. I don’t know why they need to sing it. I don’t know why they need to present it in such an insensitive way.”
Apparently racism is an issue at the school because Harris went on to say that she felt that nothing would be done about the situation.
“Thought if I don’t record this, this is going to be the only evidence that I have that this happened and nobody’s going to do anything about it,” said the 16-year-old.
As the students recited the song, classmates laughed at the offensive ditty.
“When everyone was laughing I got really frustrated,” said Harris. “I was like why are you guys laughing at this? So I had to walk out of class. I’m disgusted by this.”
Dover School District has launched an investigation.
WIlliam Harbron, the superintendent of the school district, stated: “The principal became aware of the situation late Friday and began working with teacher. Right now we’re dealing the immediate need of communication out and dealing with the emotions surrounding the situation.”
A letter sent to parents read: “We are deeply concerned that an event such as this could occur and understand the emotion and concern that this event will create for our students, families and staff. Administration from Dover High School and the District are working with students and the school community to respond immediately and effectively to this racial insensitivity.”
Yes, “racial insensitivity.”
The teacher involved has been suspended with pay pending the investigation. School officials haven’t indicated whether or not the two white male students will be disciplined.
The school has a student population of about 1300 with only 14% of the students being minorities.