updated 3/18/2010 3:32:40 PM ET 2010-03-18T19:32:40

A teacher at a failing Rhode Island school where he and all his colleagues were fired hung an effigy of President Barack Obama in his classroom, apparently in reaction to Obama's support of extreme measures to ensure accountability in schools.

The teachers union on Thursday condemned the effigy, discovered Monday in the teacher's third-floor classroom at Central Falls High School, saying it was wrong and cannot be condoned under any circumstances.

The effigy was found in the unidentified teacher's classroom by Superintendent Frances Gallo, Nicole Shaffer of the Rhode Island Department of Education told The Associated Press. Shaffer said the department would not have any further comment.

Gallo did not immediately respond to calls from the AP seeking comment, but she told CNN that the foot-tall Obama doll that she saw Monday was found hung from its feet from a white board and was holding a sign that said "Fire Central Falls teachers."

Obama had called the firings in Central Falls an example of holding failing schools accountable.

Teaching a lesson
Jane Sessums, president of the Central Falls Teachers Union, said in a written statement that the teacher hung the doll "as part of what he described as a lesson plan." A spokesman for the union said he could not immediately explain what that meant. He said he did not know how long the effigy had been in the classroom.

The union has been fighting the firings at Central Falls High School, one of Rhode Island's worst-performing schools.

Sessums said the teacher verbally apologized to his students and asked Gallo if he could also apologize in writing.

"He understands that his actions affect not just his students but all of us," she wrote. "There is no excuse for what he did."

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