(JTA) – An 11-year-old Tennessee girl who told her classmates to stop making the Nazi salute was sent to the principal’s office, her father said in a tweet in which he asked the public to send her messages of support. Keith Jacks Gamble, chair of the Department of Economics and Finance at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreeboro, Tennessee, posted his request on Tuesday, May 14. Gamble said that a student at his daughter’s McFadden School of Excellence in Murfreesboro was assigned to play Hitler for the school’s Living History project and to make the Sieg Heil salute. After students started to make the salute all over school, his daughter told them privately that she thought it was wrong. At the final rehearsal for the project, students returned “Hitler’s” salute, leading Gamble’s daughter to shout “Stop it, put your hands down!” His daughter was sent to the principal’s office for being “disrespectful,” according to Gamble. “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,” Gamble tweeted.
James Evans, a spokesman for Rutherford County Schools, said in a statement to BuzzFeed News: “The student was not disciplined or punished in any way for her concerns or actions. In fact, the school agrees the actions of the students were completely inappropriate.” She was taken out of the room to calm down, according to the district. Evans said the school has decided that future projects will not include Hitler or the salute.
During the awards ceremony for the project, several students gave the salute when the student who portrayed Hitler went up to receive her award and were not reprimanded. When Gamble’s daughter accepted an award, she called on parents to talk to their children about why it is not right to make the salute.