A Pulaski middle school teacher was suspended after a student showed up to school wearing a Ku Klux Klan costume, Pulaski County Superintendent Patrick Richardson said.
The teacher's suspension comes in the wake of a video that showed a student wearing the KKK costume on a school bus.
The Teacher Gave the Student Permission to Wear the Costume.
Richardson said the student wore the outfit as part of an assignment that required students to dress up as historical figures.
One student was going to dress up as Nathan Bedford Forrest, and the teacher gave the middle school student permission. Forest was a Confederate army general and the first wizard of the KKK from 1867 to 1869.
What is the Ku Klux Klan?
The KKK is an American white supremacist hate group that targets black people. The group was founded at the end of the United States Civil War by six ex-Confederate soldiers to express the rights and freedoms of African Americans.
It was outlawed in the United States in 1871 because of violent and outrageous crimes against blacks and northerners, including murder and lynching but continues to exist even after 150 years, as an active domestic terrorist organization.
In 2017, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which monitors extremist groups, estimated that there were "at least 29 separate, rival Klan groups currently active in the United States,"
'Extremely Disappointed and Embarrassed'
"First and foremost, I am extremely disappointed and embarrassed by this incident," Richardson told the Herald-Leader Monday night. "I would hope our school and community realize that this does not represent the character of our students and staff at Southern Middle School or our district as a whole."
He said the teacher has been suspended pending a personnel investigation and the situation will be reported to the Kentucky Educational Professional Standards Board. Richardson did not provide the teacher's name.
In addition, Richardson said, there is a video circulating with a teacher's contact information on it. This teacher was not involved in the incident, he said. "She is completely innocent in this matter and deserves to be treated as such. I am deeply apologetic for this situation and I am taking immediate steps to address the matter," he said.