Students walk out to support Metro teacher who assigned homework about the n-word

Posted at 11:05 AM, Nov 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-22 20:44:04-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Several students staged a walkout Friday to support a Metro Nashville teacher who assigned homework that some parents considered to be inappropriate.

The English teacher at Cane Ridge High School in Antioch was placed on leave after the assignment sparked conversation about race and how to handle tough subjects in the classroom.

Since the incident, a student started an online petition showing support for the teacher. The student said the teacher is "being persecuted for trying to prepare us for the real world by gifting us with the ability to think critically."

Read more: MNPS teacher placed on leave for homework about the n-word

On Friday, students continued their support by walking out of their classrooms.

The homework in question was assigned to 30 students as they discussed "Fences," a play and film adaptation exploring the topic of race as a father struggles to provide for his family. The handout given to students asked them to write a one-page paper on the derogatory term "n-word" and answer several questions including how the word is racist and how it is used.

In the assignment provided by a parent to NewsChannel 5, the term was spelled out. The play uses the language frequently.

The teacher involved has been with MNPS since 2015 and received no disciplinary actions in the past. Spokesperson Sean Braisted of MNPS said the assignment has been retracted and canceled.

Metro Schools confirmed the teacher's administrative leave ended on November 21. "A notice of disciplinary action will go out to Mr. Small by early next week, and Mr. Small will have an opportunity to follow the normal procedure for review before the disciplinary action is final. In additional to any disciplinary action, training provided by the Diversity and Equity team will be required."