NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – A student-teacher at Waverly Belmont has been fired after giving a controversial assignment to a fourth grade class. 

The lesson was related to Black History Month and the instruction to the assignment began with “Let’s make a slave.”

Kristen Lockert’s fourth grade son told her about the experience.

“Monday my child was like, we learned about slavery,” she said. “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.”

Lockert’s son was curious and chose to read the first three paragraphs. He then told his mom what he learned.

“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,” Lockert said.

The assignment then goes on to say to strip the man of his clothes in front of others, tar and feather him and then set him on fire. Lockert is worried her son will take these words to heart.

“Just knowing he had to be subjected to reading something like that could make him feel he is less than who he is,” she said. “So, what kind of lessons are we going to now put in place at Waverly Belmont to counteract what they have done?”

Lockert told News4 she thinks the lesson should have required permission and the supervising teacher should have intervened.

Vanderbilt University 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.”

News4 reached out to Metro Schools for comment on the incident. In a statement, they said:

"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.”  

 

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A New York City native and a graduate of the Mizzou School of Journalism, Ethan joined the WSMV Digital Team in June 2019. Send him story ideas, food recommendations and sports topics to Ethan.Illers@wsmv.com and follow him on Twiiter @EthanIllers_TV!

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