(LOS ANGELES) — Incendiary images of a Los Angeles high school student dressed hood-to-toe as a Ku Klux Klan member as part of a final history project splashed online Friday, sparking an investigation and an apology from the school district.
The photos of an unidentified freshman student enrolled at the Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy, located in the Wilmington section of Los Angeles, caused disquiet for many students.
“It made me feel like unsafe and threatened,” Eliza Dumag, a senior at the high school, told ABC station KABC.
Another senior, Kevin Gambino, said the decision to come dressed in the KKK suit was perplexing.
“I was uncomfortable, actually,” he told the station.
It appears the student was granted permission, like other classmates, to don a costume as part of completing a history assignment.
The student specifically chose to research and write an essay about former KKK imperial wizard Hiram Wesley Evans, according to KABC.
Trinity Young told KABC that she found it “troubling” that the history teacher equated the KKK costume with other revolutionary groups.
“It was hard to believe that she would allow a Klansman to walk around from her approval,” she said. “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.”
And the student didn’t shed the attire after history class was over.
“He wore it like throughout the school, like in nutrition, lunch, things like that,” Lance Dantignac, a senior, told KABC. “I don’t think that’s appropriate.”
The LAUSD on Saturday issued an apology.
“We sincerely apologize to the L.A. Unified community for this incident,” the statement read.
It also pointed to the fact that while the student was exploring the topic of racism, like other students in the history class, his costume “was insensitive and highly inappropriate.”
An investigation “is underway” the school district confirmed in the statement.
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