DOVER — The school board meeting in Dover planned for tonight has been moved to the high school’s auditorium due to a large expected turnout as the community still works to understand how students in a high school history class were allowed to perform a racially insensitive song.
The song about the Ku Klux Klan was set to “Jingle Bells” and included lyrics about killing black people. It was created as part of a two-day assignment where one group of students was asked to research the KKK and write something about the Civil War Reconstruction period using the popular Christmas carol.
A video of the song surfaced last weekend after an offended student, Chloe Harris, shared it online. Harris told NBC Boston she had gone to teacher John Carver and told him she was not comfortable about the lyrics, a conversation that reportedly took place before class.
Harris was instructed not to videotape the presentation, and told reporters she did so because she wasn’t sure anyone would believe it happened.
The incident has been reported on nationally and sparked debate about race relations locally.
Carver, who has been teaching at the high school for more than 20 years and is also the varsity baseball coach, was placed on paid administrative leave as school officials investigate. During lunch last Tuesday, students were given an opportunity to speak with leaders from New Hampshire Listens and the Nellie Mae Foundation.
On Friday, Superintendent William Harbron described the incident as “a serious issue involving racism and discrimination” in a letter to the community. He said the investigation will continue.
“This is a complex issue with no fast or easy answers, and the district is working hard to make sure that this matter is addressed efficiently and thoroughly,” Harbron said.
Harbron plans to meet with Rogers Johnson, executive director of Seacoast NAACP, and school community engagement coaches this week.
The school board meeting tonight is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.