Friday, a twitter message which had the attachment of a photo of 3 Upper Darby High School students dressed in white tee shirts that spelled out KKK also the students were wearing make shirt paper hoods, has people in Upper Darby talking about race and respect. Parents are asking “How did this happen?”
Superintendent Richard Dunlap of the Upper Darby School District sent a message to parents and the community Friday saying the skit was “intended to identify and highlight the atrocities of the Ku Klux Klan.” He said it was part of a history class during the 2014-15 school year on the 1920s. As one parent put it on Facebook, considering how national politics are today could we expect anything else? Now that the photo has been unearthed then posted to social media should we as parents and residents of Upper Darby open up a dialogue on racism? The photo captured a moment in a classroom but it doesn’t tell the whole story. In a letter to parents in the Upper Darby School District, the Superintendent said that,
“During the 2014-15 school year, a project was assigned in an Upper Darby High School history class with the intention of illustrating the historical impact of the 1920s. There were skits associated with this project, and a photo of a skit intended to identify and highlight the atrocities of the Ku Klux Klan circulated on social media last evening. The photo has offended many in the community, and the Upper Darby School District is deeply sorry for this. Though there was no intention to harm or offend anyone, we recognize that the project was in poor judgment and an inappropriate activity.
The school district has been completing diversity training with our school board, administration, and staff in our district through our partnership with Andrea Lawful-Sanders of CAPES. That training will continue, and we will implement a plan for addressing diversity with our students, as well.
The Upper Darby School District truly regrets this incident and appreciates the support and cooperation of our community as we attempt to use this as a teachable moment regarding cultural, historical, and racial understanding.”