A Student Stands Condemned for Showing Up to School in a KKK Costume
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – June 19, 2018
A Los Angeles Unified School District student decided to dress up as a member of the Ku Klux Klan for a school project. He wrote about Hiram Wesley Evans, a former imperial wizard of the KKK (1922–1939) and wore a costume representing Evans. There is a photo of Evans in the Library in Congress and his costume did not look at all like it. Other students cosplayed their chosen historical figures as well.
He put on a white robe and a loose white mask that looked a little bit like a KKK outfit, but really bore more resemblance to a bed sheet.
Some students expressed their disagreement with this action. They said they cannot understand why the teacher decided to approve this project, and found it highly inappropriate.
According ABC7, the photos were taken at the Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy on Friday.
"He wore it like throughout the school, like in nutrition, lunch, things like that. I don't think that's appropriate," said Lance Dantignac, a senior at the school.
"It made me feel like unsafe and threatened," said Eliza Dumag, another senior.
"I was uncomfortable, actually," remarked Kevin Gamino.
"It kind of rattled me. It was hard to believe that she would allow a klansman to walk around from her approval. So, we asked her, and she said that, she compared the Klan to the Black Panther Party, which in my opinion are two different things," said Trinity Young, another senior. "So yeah, it was troubling."
"I'm honestly questioning why she would think it was OK. I mean sure, he was a historical figure, but is that really a historical figure you want roaming around the school? It's not right," she said.
We do not know exactly what the ABC journalist asked or told students and how the question was posed to them.
According to history.com, the KKK was founded in 1866. The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) extended into almost every southern state by 1870 and became a vehicle for white southern resistance to the Republican Party’s Reconstruction-era policies aimed at establishing political and economic equality for blacks. Its members waged an underground campaign of intimidation and violence directed against white and black Republican leaders. Though Congress passed legislation designed to curb Klan terrorism, the organization saw its primary goal–the reestablishment of white supremacy–fulfilled through Democratic victories in state legislatures across the South in the 1870s. After a period of decline, white Protestant nativist groups revived the Klan in the early 20th century, burning crosses and staging rallies, parades and marches denouncing immigrants, Catholics, Jews, blacks and organized labor. The civil rights movement of the 1960s also saw a surge of Ku Klux Klan activity, including bombings of black schools and churches and violence against black and white activists in the South.
The Black Panther Party was founded by Bobby Seale and Huey Newton in October 1966. The party was active from 1966 until 1982. The organization believed that armed resistance to police brutality was neccesary. They had adhered to an essentially communist ideology. They were also involved in a lot of shootings with police officers.
In the meantime, LAUSD released a statement, saying in part:
"L.A. Unified and Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy understand the extreme sensitivity around this issue and do not condone or support this type of re-enactment."
The district’s statement also included an apology to the LAUSD community. It said an investigation is now underway, and that the district and school both are committed to supporting diversity.
We could not confirm the ABC7’s report from other sources. There are no traces of the statement on the official LAUSD webpage