A Sunset Middle School parent familiar with details of what The Tennessean alleged last Friday was a “racist incident” that occurred on January 18 at Sunset Middle School in Brentwood told The Tennessee Star in an exclusive interview on Thursday, “The alleged incident at the school did not happen.”
“That was a lesson in the classroom about the Irish settlers. The lesson was how people locked arms to block the Irish settlers. That is where that all came from, and it has been grossly exaggerated into this story where students locked arms to block minority students. There was no Trump wall being built. There was no students arm-in-arm blocking any other students. None of that happened,” the parent told The Star.
The parent, who confirmed they have a child who currently attends Sunset Middle School, contacted The Star by email on Thursday and offered to talk anonymously about the allegation, as well as the current environment at Sunset Middle School.
This parent, our first source for this story, portrays a situation where media accounts of alleged racism at the school are a gross mischaracterization.
Another person familiar with the alleged January 18 “racist incident,” a second source for this story, confirms the account of our first source. The second source told The Star the incident was “nothing more than a misunderstanding of play.”
The Tennessean published its story alleging the “racist incident” occurred at Sunset Middle School last Friday, just two days after The Star broke the story that Williamson County Schools this academic year has required all teachers to participate in an in-service training course that featured a series of videos, titled Williamson County Schools Cultural Competency Series, based on the controversial left wing “privilege theory” of Dr. Peggy McIntosh and its associated concept of “white privilege.” The series is the brainchild and pet project of Williamson County Schools superintendent Mike Looney.
Teachers at Sunset Middle School live in fear of losing their jobs, according to our first source. Parents, meanwhile, are afraid to speak up against the “white privilege”/cultural competency videos for fear of other possible repercussions. Middle-school students, already at an awkward stage in their lives, don’t quite know what to make of it all, the source says.
The Star has spoken with both sources over the phone and believes both sources to be truthful. Several of the details recounted in our interview have been verified by The Star, including the assertion that the president of the Sunset Middle School Parent Teacher Organization has emailed parents to notify them that the group is forming its own “Committee for Diversity and Inclusion.”
Other key points made by this Sunset Middle School parent in our exclusive Tennessee Star interview included the following:
- On the controversial slavery assignment handed out by two teachers at the school who were forced to resign over it: “It was not an assignment that the teachers created. It was an assignment that had been used in the past. For whatever reason, they brought it back. I think he (Looney) wants to deflect. I don’t think he wants to take responsibility for it.”
- On Williamson County Schools superintendent Mike Looney: “I think Looney needs to man up and start saying ‘No, this isn’t happening in our school, but he’s not, because he wants people to think it’s happening. It infuriates me. I am so upset over this.”
- On Saturday, Marcie Klein, President of the Sunset Middle School Parent Teachers Organization (PTO) sent out an email to all Sunset Middle School PTO members that said, in part, “we are currently in the planning stages of creating a new ‘Committee for Diversity and Inclusion’ that will be composed of parents, students and SMS faculty.” (emphasis added)
The Star asked Williamson County Schools for comment on these and other key details from the interview, but did not receive a response.
You can see the email Sunset Middle School PTO President Marcie Klein sent to all Sunset Middle School PTO members on Saturday here: