A retired Oklahoma teacher is under fire after presenting a fellow black teacher with a Confederate flag and KKK robe as bad joke during a teacher conference.
via NY Daily News:
Larry Long, who is white, pulled off the thoughtless gag in front of a crowd of about 500 people during a session at last week’s Oklahoma CareerTech Summer Conference in Oklahoma City, according to the Stillwater News Press.
The bizarre incident came to light after an anonymous witness emailed lawmakers, alleging the state’s only black agriculture teacher had been presented with the hood and flag while attending the Cox Convention Center conference, according to Tulsa World.
Long — who retired from Elk City High School this year, according to The Oklahoman — allegedly placed the white hood and robe on the black teacher and gave him a “stars and bars” flag to go with it.
The disturbing email sparked an internal investigation in the Department of Career and Technology Education, the state agency overseeing CareerTech.
“The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education became aware of some deplorable actions and comments made last week at one of our breakout sessions during the summer conference in Oklahoma City,” said spokeswoman Paula Bowles.
“As soon as the department was made aware of the situation, an internal investigation was launched.”
The findings confirmed the teacher was given a robe and hood, but did not yet verify the detail about the Confederate flag, CareerTech Director Marcie Mack told reporters Wednesday at a press conference.
The investigation will also look into claims that attendees who witnessed the racially charged incident were told not to tell anyone — and instructed to delete video and pics on their phones.
Mack said the two teachers had been colleagues and the black teacher was not angry.
“I’m speechless,” said Ryan Kiesel of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma. “How do you respond to an incident like that?
Long issued an apology on Thursday, explaining that it was a bad joke.
“I want to apologize for my actions at the Career Tech meeting on Aug. 2 in Oklahoma City,” he said in a statement, according to the Stillwater paper.
“While there I attempted to make a joke with a colleague whom I respect and admire. I have apologized to him personally but that is not enough. I want to take this opportunity to apologize publicly and state that my conduct was highly inappropriate.
“I never intended to convey any racist actions or comments. I realize now that what I said and did was harmful, offensive and hurtful.”
What on earth made him think that would be a good idea? Larry needs his ass whooped.