A fifth-grade girl who was deeply upset and called out other students participating in a “living history” project who were giving the Nazi salute was removed from the class, with a teacher writing that the young girl “was disrespectful with her tone and body language to me and Mrs. J[redacted] while we were trying to discuss her behavior with her.”
The girl’s father, Keith Jacks Gamble, who works at Middle Tennessee State University, issued a Twitter thread detailing his daughter’s alleged experiences at McFadden School of Excellence in Murfreesboro. He started by writing:
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. 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.
Buzzfeed News reported, “According to screenshots of an email Gamble’s wife sent to the school’s principal laying out a timeline of the incident, 10 to 20 of his daughter’s classmates first performed the Nazi salute in mid-April during the class’s first rehearsal for the Living History project.”
The Daily News Journal added:
In an email provided by the student’s mother from teacher Jennifer Austin, Gamble’s daughter was given a platform to express her disdain with the assignment when she saw several classmates performing the gesture, but was told “not to address it again.” As the research portion of the project continued, students began performing the Nazi salute around campus, the email said. Each time, Gamble’s daughter confronted them, but they continued doing it, ultimately planning to do a “mass Nazi salute” directed at her. The student told her teacher, who addressed the situation with students and asked them to refrain from the gesture.
Gamble tweeted, “She has been bullied by classmates and targeted personally with Nazi salutes, so school feels lonely sometimes.” He added, “But her family is so proud of her, and I bet there are others who are too!”
Rutherford County Schools spokesman James Evans stated that the student playing Adolf Hitler for the presentation was supposed to give a speech followed by the Nazi salute. Evans acknowledged, “During rehearsal on Thursday, May 9, the student gave his presentation, and when he gave his salute, some other students in the class responded with the same salute.” That reportedly prompted Gamble’s daughter to yell out, “Stop it. Put your hands down now.” Gamble’s daughter was taken to the principal’s office to calm down; no discipline was given, according to Evans.
On May 10, Gamble’s team won an award, and she gave a speech to explain why the Nazi salute was wrong. Evans said that the principal met with the entire fifth-grade class “to put a stop to any further instances,” adding, “The school will find alternative means of covering the fifth-grade history standard. Our director of schools also sent an email to fifth-grade parents to assure them we do not condone any type of symbolism or actions that can be interpreted as hate-filled or insensitive.”