Ta-Nehisi Coates crashes a school board meeting discussing the banning of his book (video)

When a South Carolina school board met with outraged parents to discuss an award-winning book by author Ta-Nehisi Coates that was banned from a classroom syllabus, they didn't expect to meet face to face with Coates himself.

But footage shows Coates — whose nonfiction memoir, Between the World and Me, was removed from an AP course at Chapin High School in the Lexington-Richmond district after its topic of racism made a couple of white students feel uncomfortable — sitting in solidarity among the parents who supported his book and right next to the teacher who had assigned the book. (See video below, posted by News 19 WLTX.)

"We cannot become critical thinkers without being uncomfortable in some way," one student said to the board as Coates watched from the back row. "If students can't learn these things in a safe space, like school, how are they—we—meant to make good decisions and think critically?"

From Daily Beast:

In February, after getting approval from higher-ups, an AP Language teacher at Chapin High School conducted a lesson involving Between the World and Me. The book, written as an essay to Coates' son to prepare him for the life he will live as a Black man, details personal accounts of Coates' life and his first-hand experiences with racism. However, the lesson was shut down and the book was removed from the course after students filed a complaint claiming the book made them feel "guilty for being white," local news outlet CBS 19 Columbia reported.

According to footage obtained by CBS 19, a slew of people wearing blue rallied in support for the book and for academic freedom during the board hearing. And Coates sat in the back of the room next to the teacher who assigned the book as a sign of solidarity.

"What matters most to me is that my students have the ability to hear six or seven opinions on one topic and come up with their own thesis, supported with evidence, and come up with an independent conclusion," said Superintendent Dr. Akil Ross.

"The board did not conduct a vote after public discussion," reports the Daily Beast, and one has to wonder if Coates' presence had anything to do with that.