Fort Loudon Middle School lesson plan causing controversy
February 8, 2007

6 News Anchor/Reporter

LOUDON (WATE) -- The topic of race almost always causes controversy and that's the case again in Loudon County, where some feel a middle school class exercise aimed at exploring the evils of racism went a little too far.

According to Kara Lennex, a seventh grade student at Fort Loudon Middle School, "The smileys were black and the stars were white, and the stars had to go outside to get to a different class, and they had to drink out of different water fountains and use the different bathrooms, and the white people just had to do it regularly."

Because of the sensitive subject matter, one parent reportedly kept a child at home on the second day of the exercise, and the segregation role playing may have been misunderstood by some students.

Loudon City Councilman Lewis Garner says, "I know the teachers didn't have anything to do with it, but there was some name calling to the children that were supposed to be black that day. I think it's very important that we never go back to where we were."

6 News tried to get a response from the school, but the principal refused to comment on the allegations.

Garner also tried to voice his concerns at the school board meeting, but since the item was not already on the agenda, the board refused to hear his complaint.

Garner adds, "This is 2007. Rosa Parks isn't sitting in the back of the bus any more. We don't have to go to that degree. I feel like the school system has promoted teaching children about racism and teaching them to be racist because these kids were in this role playing stage, and I think they crossed the line."