Well, America, it’s Black History Month. And what better way better to celebrate the many important contributions of black Americans than by segregating a bunch of black kids for a special, blacks-only assembly?
That’s a thing that actually happened this week at Benicia Middle School in the small Bay Area town of Benicia, Calif., reports local Fox affiliate KTVU.
A teacher — the only black teacher at the taxpayer-funded school — organized the assembly on Tuesday. School officials have described the assembly as an unauthorized event for which the teacher did not seek permission.
The Fox affiliate does not identify the teacher but a reporter did speak to her off camera. The teacher said she decided to have an unsanctioned assembly only for black kids because of her concerns that students have been hurling racial epithets at school.
The blacks-only assembly included a screening of a YouTube clip about the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. The teacher also distributed a survey concerning racial issues.
Somehow, the teacher managed to pull off the race-based assembly without school officials finding out about it.
Administrators only learned of the segregated assembly when parents later called to object.
“As a parent I can understand why there’s concern, because kids came home and said, ‘I was shown a movie, I took a survey and, oh and by the way, everybody in the room was also African American like me,'” parent Andre Stewart told KTVU.
Stewart is also a school board member.
Another parent, Ramonte Robinson, said he didn’t understand why black kids would be segregated in America in the year 2015.
“That’s not right, ’cause you’re going back to the ’60s with segregation,” he told the station. “I mean, we’re all equal here.”
School officials have apologized for the segregated assembly.
“It looks like segregation. Certainly does,” Benicia Unified School District superintendent Janice Adams told KTVU. “It was.”
“I understand how it looks and I’m very sorry for that, because that’s not the impression that we want to give about our school,” Adams also explained.
The superintendent added that she believes the teacher merely made a poor decision and had no ill intent.
“She really is a great person and she made a judgment call that wasn’t good,” Adams told KTVU. “I do believe her intentions were good.”
The population of Benicia, Calif. is 26,997. Over 70 percent of the population is white. Just over five percent is black.
The city’s website describes Benicia as “a scenic Bay Area city” “unlike any other,” boasting “a beautiful waterfront, bustling arts community, top notch shopping and dining, and rich history.” The city slogan is: “It’s a Great Day by the Bay in Benicia!