Catherine Ariemma is a history teacher at Lumpkin County High School in Dahlonega, Georgia. She has "a perfect record." Until now! Because she let a bunch of her students dress up in Klan outfits, in school, for a "video assignment."
What's the first thing you learn in teacher school? Is it "Don't ever let your students dress up like klansmen"? If not, maybe it should be. Ariemma apparently let her students dress up in the most famous symbol of racist terrorism for what was undoubtedly a super-fun video project about "the history of racism in America."
Things quickly went exactly as you would expect when you give a bunch of teenagers white hoods and an excuse to act like idiots:
Student Cody Rider said that he saw the students wearing hoods parade through the cafeteria last Thursday.
Rider approached the group.
"My intention when I was approaching them was to fight. I'll be honest with you," said Rider. "I was angry and outraged."
Rider said that several students wearing hoods taunted his cousin, who is also a student at the school.
"Students approached him and asked if they can re-enact the lynching of him for their class project," said Rider.
Responses to the incident were varied. "I think it was a lapse in judgment," said School Superintendent Dewey Moye, astutely. Student Lucy Morrow, meanwhile, thinks the incident—which, just so we're clear, was a group of students dressed as Klansmen, asking to lynch people—"has been blown way out of proportion." Ariemma is on leave while the district conducts an investigation, and could be fired.
[CBS Atlanta; pic, from a 2009 Klan gathering, via Getty]