White County parents concerned over middle school writing assignment about killing someone

“I never meant to kill her. I only wanted to hurt her, but now her ghost follows me everywhere.”
White County parents are concerned over a middle school writing assignment about killing someone.
Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 5:02 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Parents in the White County School District asked for answers after a teacher assigned an 8th grade class a writing prompt about killing someone.

Shelly Davis, the mother of an 8th grade student at White County Middle School, confronted the school board about the assignment during the public comment period at August’s board meeting.

She said the prompt asked students to finish this story lead:

“I never meant to kill her. I only wanted to hurt her, but now her ghost follows me everywhere.”

Davis said her son approached her with the assignment because he was uncomfortable writing it. That is the only reason she would have known about it, she said.

“He said, ‘Mom, I sat there the rest of the class period, and all I thought was my mind is going to dark places,’” Davis said to the school board.

Madison Meadows’ younger sister is in the same 8th grade class. Meadows said it made her and her classmates very uncomfortable.

“I just feel like it’s wrong all across the board,” Meadows said. “When I was in eighth grade, I can recall never having to write about murdering someone. It’s just crazy to me. I have a lot of questions as to why.”

Meadows echoed part of what Davis said to the school board thinking about what would happen if this assignment fell into someone else’s hands.

“If a student finished that story and it fell on the ground and another kid picked that up, that kid would go to the office. That kid would probably be getting expelled. That kid would probably have to be investigated by DCS. The parents would be investigated, and everything else,” Davis said.

Initially, Davis said she called the school and wanted to talk to the teacher. She never did, and the principal told her he would handle the issue.

The next day, the teacher asked the class to turn in the assignment so she could throw it away.

“If they’re viewing this teacher as a role model, what example is she setting for these kids?” Meadows said.

Davis said she went to the school board because she felt like she was not being taken seriously. However, Tuesday, they finally met with the teacher. She apologized to Davis and said she was trying to rush to get a prompt up at the end of class.

She plans to send an apology letter to the rest of the students.

“We don’t want to see the teacher fired, we just hope she learned from it,” Davis said.

Davis told WSMV4 she hopes the district uses this as a learning experience about thoroughly vetting curriculum.

“We have to be careful about what we put out there, but at the same time these are human beings,” she said. “We do fail on a daily basis, and we need to use this as a learning tool.”

You can read the teacher’s apology letter below: