History class gone wrong: High schoolers caught chanting KKK jingle, assignment sparks probe

History class gone wrong: High schoolers caught chanting KKK jingle, assignment sparks probe
A light-hearted history assignment at a US high school ended up with two students singing a racist KKK version of Jingle Bells in front of the class. A teacher has been suspended as the school is investigating how it came to be.

An 11th-grade history class at Dover High School in New Hampshire was instructed by their fun-loving teacher to change the lyrics to a Christmas song to tell a story about Reconstruction, the tumultuous period after the US Civil War.

Instead of a witty ballad about corrupt carpet-baggers, the class was treated to something a bit more shocking. Two boys apparently chose the Ku Klux Klan as their topic, and composed a new, KKK rendition of Jingle Bells, featuring the slightly modified refrain saying “Let’s kill all the blacks.”

Another line went: “White masks on our heads, blood beneath our feet, laughing till they're dead – ha, ha, ha.”

The risqué rendition was caught on video by classmate Chloe Harris, who was appalled by how fellow students took enjoyment in the lyrics.

“When everyone was laughing I got really frustrated,” Harris, who is mixed race, later told NBC10 Boston, explaining she took the video because it would be the “only evidence” that the incident ever happened. She also said she walked out of the class and later expressed her disgust at the song to the teacher, asking what was the need to present it in such an insensitive way.”

The school soon went into damage control mode, placing the teacher on administrative leave while launching a probe. In a Facebook post on Monday, it condemned the incident, adding it was working with students and staff to address a case of “extreme racial insensitivity” and “implicit bias.” The school declined to say if the pupils responsible would be disciplined.

The incident sparked some reaction online as some were not convinced a probe would be enough and wondering why the racist rendition was allowed go ahead in the first place.

“From what we can all see, this is FAR beyond ‘racial insensitivity’ and ‘implicit bias’,” read one response. “It's racism and white supremacy. Clear and simple.”

One parent, who said her child felt uneasy by what happened said: “I'm disgusted and horrified. Several kids felt very uncomfortable by the assignment and didn't know what to do. Teachers are supposed to be role models. I'm livid.”

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Another asked what other tragic world events would have been allowed to be adapted in such a way, suggesting the teacher would have been “Ok to teach about the Holocaust” with an adaptation of Johnny Cash’s country classic, Ring of Fire.

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