What Was This Teacher Thinking?

A history teacher in Georgia let high school students wear Ku Klux Klan outfits for a final project. Seriously.

What Was This Teacher Thinking?

A history teacher in Georgia let high school students wear Ku Klux Klan outfits for a final project. Seriously.

-Faye Brennan


Was Catherine Ariemma high when she allowed four of her high school students to come to their campus dressed like members of the Ku Klux Klan to film their final project? Apparently, because we can’t think of any other explanation for why on earth a teacher would think this was a good idea.

Ariemma teaches U.S. history and film education at Lumpkin County High School, which is outside of Atlanta, Georgia and is 90 percent white. Last Thursday, she let a group of five students film their final project for her class on school grounds. The film was depicting the history of racism in America, and the students made their own Ku Klux Klan outfits, pointy hoods and all. While one student filmed, the other four donned the outfits around campus to make their project.

Read Teacher Writes ‘Loser’ on Students’ Assignments

Of course, the few black students on campus were horrified. They didn’t know why fellow students were wearing the KKK hoods. One student told Atlanta’s WSB-TV, “I got mad and stood up and I tried to go handle it.” Soon, parents were complaining to the school.

“It was poor judgment on my part in allowing them to film at school,” Ariemma told the Associate Press this week. Um, ya think? She’s now on administrative leave and could lose her job over the incident.

Lumpkin County School Superintendent Dewey Moye is, of course, extremely embarrassed over the incident. “This stuff happened in history. Do you ignore it? No,” he said. “But you certainly don’t walk the hallway in the garb.” (Huffington Post)

Tell us: What do you think about Catherine Ariemma’s decision to let students wear KKK hoods on campus? Should she be fired?

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12 thoughts on “What Was This Teacher Thinking?

  1. I think that if it was announced beforehand and than done as a learning opportunity in front of the whole student body as an assembly than that would have been better. Unfortunately, it is a part of history and I think that children could learn from the stupidities of that time if done properly.

  2. Fired, no. However I think she needs to be supervised in her classes for a set period of time. She should also have to put in some time in a program to help her make more sensitive and sensible decisions.

  3. Oh come on. Grow up! Racism and the KKK are part of our history. She is a history teacher. This is a great interactive. Dressing up brings it home and has much more of an impact.

  4. What frustrates me, is that if it were black kids dressed up like black panthers it wouldn’t be an issue at all. Also don’t come back to me saying, “well the black panthers didn’t kill anyone.” They were just as dangerous as the KKK. It was a school project to help them understand what it might have been like, nothing more, not protesting, not hate crime, just a project.


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