Court dismisses lawsuit filed by family over MNPS ‘Let’s Make a Slave’ assignment

Local News

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A lawsuit filed against Metro Nashville Public Schools over an assignment entitled “Let’s Make a Slave” has been dismissed in federal court.  

The lawsuit was filed by a family of a Black student with autism. The lawsuit claimed their son suffered emotional trauma after an assignment based on a speech called “Let’s Make A Slave” made in the 1700’s by a plantation owner.  

The lesson was given by a Vanderbilt student teacher and was approved by the fourth-grade MNPS teacher they were working under. During the lesson, the suit claims students were told to fold under their desks and “pretend to seek freedom from slavery by being mailed away in a box.” Students were allegedly told if they moved, they would be caught and returned to a life of slavery. 

Following the assignment, the student’s parents claim he suffered emotional trauma, fearing being separated from his family and mailed in a box. He also reportedly asked his mother if he could change his skin color in order to be “safe.” 

The court granted Metro’s motion to dismiss the Civil Rights Act and state law negligence claim filed against the district and the teacher.  

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