A fifth-grader at a Tennessee public school was sent to the principal’s office this week after telling students to stop doing Nazi salutes.
“Please comment with support for my 11-year-old daughter. She was removed from class and sent to the principal’s office for the rest of the day last Thursday for shouting, ‘Stop it, put your hands down now,’ to a group of students giving the Nazi salute,” tweeted Keith Gamble, the child’s father.
In a Twitter thread, Gamble detailed how his daughter was bullied by students giving Nazi salutes “in the hallways and at recess for weeks, after a teacher assigned a student to give the Nazi salute in a Hitler costume for an assignment.”
“Each time, my daughter spoke out even though she was told by a teacher ‘not to address it.’ She has been bullied by classmates and targeted personally with Nazi salutes, so school feels lonely sometimes,” he tweeted.
Children at school have been giving Nazi salutes in the hallways and at recess for weeks, after a teacher assigned a student to give the Nazi salute in a Hitler costume for an assignment.
Although Gamble’s daughter was sent to the principal’s office, James Evans, the communications director for Rutherford County Schools, told HuffPost that she “was not disciplined or punished in any way for her concerns or actions” as “the school agree[d] the actions of the students were completely inappropriate.”
“The principal also investigated concerns that the salute had happened more than once, and he was able to confirm two instances where some students gave the salute [outside of the history project]. Teachers intervened in both confirmed instances. The principal held a meeting with all fifth-graders about what had happened and to put a stop to any further instances,” Evans told the outlet.
An email from the head of Rutherford County Schools was sent to parents to “assure them we do not condone any type of symbolism or actions that can [be] interpreted as hate-filled or insensitive.”
The school announced that the history project will no longer consist of students demonstrating a Hitler or a Nazi salute, and instead “find alternative means of covering the fifth-grade history standard.”
Evans told HuffPost the classroom lesson was “intended to be an interactive way for the students to learn the history standards for fifth grade” as “multiple historical figures and events are included and students are assigned roles to research and perform.”
“It was never intended to be offensive, and the salute was definitely not encouraged to be performed by the other students,” he said.