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Georgia Students Wear Ku Klux Klan Outfits To School

May 23, 2010

DAHLONEGA, Georgia - School officials said a Lumpkin County High School teacher went too far with a class project.

Administrators said students in Catherine Ariemma's advanced placement history class were re-enacting various historical periods, and four donned Ku Klux Klan-like outfits.

"I was sitting in the lunchroom and my little cousin taps me on the shoulder -- he's also African-American -- and he was scared," student Cody Rider told WSB-TV's Ryan Young. "There was fear in his eyes. I was like, 'What is it? I looked up and they just walked through the lunchroom in white sheets. So, I mean me, I got mad and stood up and I tried to go handle it."

Teachers quickly calmed things down in the lunchroom, but what they said offered little comfort to Rider.

"They came up to me and said it was for a class project," he said. "I was like, 'Why would a class project involve them walking through the hallway in white sheets?' I mean, I just don't understand."

"It was very poor judgement and we condemn that type of decision on her part," Lumpkin County School Superintendent Dewey Moye told Young. "Action has been taken in dealing with the teacher in that situation."

Moye said Ariemma, a 5-year veteran with the school system, is on leave with pay pending the outcome of an investigation.

"She is an advanced placement teacher and has done very well, has been very competent in her job and her performance," Moye said. "I think it was a very bad decision."




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