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3 teachers suspended in black history flap

LOS ANGELES, March 3 (UPI) -- Three Los Angeles elementary school teachers have been suspended over a Black History Month event that celebrated O.J. Simpson, education officials said.

The teachers, who are white, allegedly encouraged students to carray a picture of Simpson -- a convicted felon -- during a parade at the school Friday, at which former NBA star Dennis Rodman and cross-dressing entertainer RuPaul were also celebrated, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

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Los Angeles Unified School District spokeswoman Gayle Pollard-Terry said Superintendent Ramon Cortines had the Wadsworth Avenue Elementary School teachers removed from their classrooms after he learned about the incident Tuesday.

"The superintendent believes there are better choices," Pollard-Terry said.

The first three days of the suspension will be without pay, the Times reported.

Other students in the parade celebrated President Barack Obama and civil rights icon the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Leon Jenkins, president of the Los Angeles branch of the NAACP, said he "just can't fathom what these teachers were thinking of except to make a mockery of African-American history."

Pollard-Terry said Simpson, Rodman and RuPaul were on a list of figures approved by the school for study during Black History Month but she said the suspended teachers may have recommended the names be placed on the list.

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