L.A. school fires teachers, cancels program on Emmett Till as too graphic

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LOS ANGELES -- Administrators at a Los Angeles charter school fired two teachers after canceling a planned Black History Month presentation honoring Emmett Till, the slain black teenager whose death was pivotal in the civil rights movement.

Seventh-graders at Celerity Nascent Charter School had planned to read a poem based on the book, "A Wreath for Emmett Till," and lay flowers in a circle during the February program.

But school officials said the 14-year-old's story was too graphic for an assembly that included kindergartners and replaced it with a reading on the civil rights struggle as a whole, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

"Our whole goal is how do we get these kids to not look at all of the bad things that could happen to them and instead focus on the process of how do we become the next surgeon or the next politician," said Celerity co-founder and Executive Director Vielka McFarlane. "We don't want to focus on how the history of the country has been checkered but on how do we dress for success, walk proud and celebrate all the accomplishments we've made."

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