Lawsuit Against Metro Nashville Public Schools for Making 4th-Graders Pretend to be Slaves Dismissed by Federal Judge


On Monday, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) and one of their teachers for a lesson making 4th-graders pretend to be slaves. U.S. District Court Judge Aleta Trauger wrote in the ruling that the parents who filed the suit failed to state a claim in which relief may be granted.

The plaintiffs in the case Doe v. Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, et. al were the parents of a 4th grade Black student called John Doe for anonymity. The lesson plan was titled after the assigned reading “Let’s Make a Slave,” a graphic, violent speech purportedly given by an 18th-century white slave owner named Willie Lynch as advice on making slaves submissive.

The student-teacher from Vanderbilt University was supervised by one of the defendants: Andrew Herman, an elementary teacher at Waverly Belmont Elementary School.

In the initial complaint, the parents of the student stated that the Lynch speech was wildly inappropriate for 4th-graders, as was the companion learning exercise that took place the following day. The parents said that their son, who has autism, believed that his family would be broken apart or separated, or that he would be set on fire.

“John Doe was forced to listen to instructions about breaking blacks like horses, whipping them, and setting them afire, and breaking up their families for the color of their skin. He endured an entire school day of trauma[,]” wrote the parents. “[I]f the reading and instruction […] were not humiliating enough, […] the student-teacher, with Defendant Herman still watching and approving, made the children pretend they were actual slaves trying to be shipped away from their slaveowners. […] John Doe and classmates were told to pretend they were actual slaves, folding themselves under desks and pretending to seek freedom from slavery by being mailed away in a box. The students were instructed that if they moved, they would be caught, and returned to a life of slavery.”

The complaint also included some of the passages from the Lynch speech.

“Take the meanest and most restless black, strip him of his clothes in front of the others, the female, and the black infant, tar and feather him, and set him afire,” the complaint quoted from the speech. “The next step is to take a bullwhip and beat the remaining males to the point of death, in front of the female and the infant. Don’t kill him but PUT THE FEAR OF GOD IN HIM, for he can be useful for future breeding.”

In their motion to dismiss the case, MNPS classified the lesson as part of an “obligation to educate students.” MNPS said that the speech and associated lesson didn’t reflect best practices, but weren’t the issue in the case.

MNPS also noted that it took prompt action to dismiss the student-teacher and place Herman on administrative leave. Herman has since been reinstated.

Similarly, Herman’s motion to dismiss the case stated that he owed no duty to the parents and child, and that he’s entitled to qualified immunity. As part of the qualified immunity claim, Herman denied that he was negligent when he approved and supervised the student-teacher’s lesson plan.

Qualified immunity shields government officials from liability and paying damages over alleged rights violations, so long as the official hasn’t violated a clearly established law.

Neither of the plaintiffs’ lawyers responded to The Tennessee Star with comment by press time.

Read the final judgment in full here:

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].






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9 Thoughts to “Lawsuit Against Metro Nashville Public Schools for Making 4th-Graders Pretend to be Slaves Dismissed by Federal Judge”

  1. Dr. Payne

    Are people NOW seeing the leftist (globalist) influence in the education system that’s been going on for over 4 decades? It’s awfully late!

  2. AWM

    I think the student teacher needs some serious counseling regarding teaching elementary students. Herman should be fired, period.

  3. Beverly Seymour

    Uh, as usual, a cowardly judge does not address a serious issue. The plaintiffs clearly stated relief that they want in the last page of the suit. DUH! I hope they appeal and get another judge assigned. This kind of nonsense needs to be stopped in the schools and penalty paid. And who knew about this lesson ahead of time and did nothing to stop it?

  4. Wolf Woman

    Government sanctioned child abuse.

  5. Unionized teachers are criminal and should be considered child abuse.

  6. Regina

    I have an autistic grandson and I find this horrific what those “teachers” inflicted on that little boy, not to mention the other children in the class. Mr. Herman’s high handed attitude is appalling and very telling about his lack of concern for any of those kids. There is no justification whatsoever in scaring little kids with such disturbing material. Mr. Herman should have been dismissed permanently from teaching.

  7. Atticus Itch

    Aleta Trauger is as far left as they come. She is not a judge; she is a political activist for George Soros.

    1. Nibroc

      Yet, even she saw fit to dismiss this Jesse Jackson shakedown.

    2. Our politicians and unionized government employees are a crime gang.