Following a student protest, a popular northwest Minnesota teacher is back on the job after a controversial suspension that came after an email was circulated.
Bryan Perkins, a social sciences teacher at East Grand Forks High School, was put on administrative leave earlier this week after the school superintendent announced he was under investigation for "potential wrongdoing," WDAZ reported.
While the district has not specified why Perkins was suspended, the disciplinary action came a couple weeks after Perkins sent an email titled "Thinking out loud," the subject of which was Somali students in one of his classes, the Forum notes.
The Say Anything Blog posted a copy of the apparent email, and in it, Perkins expresses concern over Somali students in his English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) class – 30 percent of whom, he says, "have VERY bad attendance."
He goes on to say he sees a "lack of accountability" in such behavior and claims it interferes with other students' progress.
He writes that when Somali ESL students return to class, they are forced to catch up, and "we must physically stop the class to re-teach most of what they have missed ... and, in many cases this must be done immediately at the expense of the other 25 students in the room."
Valley News Live says many students – who staged a walk-out in protest of the suspension on Wednesday – blamed the situation on the email.
"I think the School District realizes my intent was to open dialogue," Perkins told the Forum, which reported he was unaware his email had been "publicized" after he sent it.
According to Valley News Live, Perkins' reinstatement came after a meeting with administration, and that he was due to return to the classroom Thursday.
The situation caused such a stir Perkins was the subject of his own hashtag on social media, #FreePerkins.