In Nashville, Tennessee, a student-teacher gave fourth-grade students an assignment that later saw her fired from her position at the school.
The assignment, created as part of educating the students about Black History Month, started with “Let’s make a slave.”
One parent, Kristen Lockert, became aware of the assignment after her son told her about it.
She said, “Monday my child was like, we learned about slavery. The teacher gave them a choice. She said the info was very graphic and violent and you have a choice, to read it or not read it. If you don’t want to read it, then you go to the other side of the classroom.”
Her son’s curiosity had him reading the first three paragraphs, and he told his mother about it.
“You need to whip a black man just as you whip a horse and break them as a horse. You need to inbreed them and then take their child away,” she said.
The assignment included other horrific acts such as stripping the man of his clothes in front of others, tarring and feathering him and then setting him on fire. Lockert is concerned about the impact those words would have on her son.
She said, “Just knowing he had to be subjected to reading something like that could make him feel he is less than who he is. So, what kind of lessons are we going to now put in place at Waverly Belmont to counteract what they have done?”
She told News4 that the teachers should have sought permission before teaching the lesson, and that the supervising teacher should have done something about the lesson.
Vanderbilt University, where the student-teacher is enrolled, said in a statement:
“The student teacher experience, where seasoned classroom teachers serve as mentors, is an invaluable one. This was an unfortunate situation for all involved. We will continue to work with Metro Nashville Public Schools to ensure that students, student-teachers, and mentors benefit from engaging in the classroom and working together.”
Metro Schools released a statement:
"A student-teacher was dismissed and asked not to return to Waverly-Belmont as a result of teaching material that was not age appropriate or within the scope of sequence for the 4th grade class. Metro Schools regrets if any students or parents were caused pain as a result of this incident. District leaders have been working with school administrators and parents to address concerns for the students involved.”