A California teacher with a history of racist remarks has been placed on leave for hanging a Confederate flag in his classroom.
The Sutter Middle School teacher, Woody Hart, made news in November after explaining to eight-graders that equality meant, “if you were to hang one black person, you would have to hang all black people.”
The 70-year-old Hart, who apologized afterward, was told by school officials after that incident to use examples students could understand and that did not involve culturally insensitive language.
The teacher told the Sacramento Bee that he used the analogy to catch students’ attention and make the lesson “interesting.”
School officials placed the history teacher on paid administrative leave for setting up the Confederate battle flag in his classroom, across from a Union flag.
The flags might have been intended for use in a history lesson, officials said, but the Confederate flag was taken down before classes began Wednesday and an investigation was launched.
“We recognize that, regardless of context, to many of our students, families and staff, the Confederate flag is a racist symbol of hate,” school officials said in a statement.
The incident remains under investigation, but school officials said employees who are found to engage in behavior that creates an unsafe environment could potentially be fired.