A boy was told to give the nazi salute in class. When others followed suit, this girl spoke up.

Last week, an 11-year-old girl was reprimanded and sent to the principal's office for telling several classmates to stop giving the nazi salute.

Yes, you read that right.

As part of an interactive fifth grade social studies class project at the McFadden School of Excellence in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, one student was assigned to portray Adolf Hitler, and according to Huffington Post, his teacher instructed him to give the Sieg Heil salute as part of his presentation.


The girl, whose father later shared the whole story, including back and forth between him and the school administration in a Twitter thread, noted that while she'd initially been given the opportunity to express why the situation upset her, afterwards she was told “not address it again.”

However, because fifth graders can be mean, several students who saw how upset the salute made the girl decided to perform it at her repeatedly.

Keith Jack Gamble, the girl's father, noted that the saluting continued for weeks until some 10 to 20 students were doing it. This finally culminated in Gamble’s daughter shouting “stop it” and “put your hands down" at her classmates, which led to disciplinary action taken against her for being “disrespectful with her tone and body language to teachers.” She was then sent to the principal's office.

While the school claims teachers intervened at the few confirmed instances of harassment and the principal said he gave the entire fifth-grade class a talking to, the school is taking no responsibility for the inciting assignment.

“It was never intended to be offensive and the salute was definitely not encouraged to be performed by the other students,” the school's communications director told HuffPost.

What was intended is hardly the point though. Fifth grade-aged children are incredibly impressionable, and by teaching them to use hateful gestures like that you're opening up a dangerous can of worms. What's perhaps even more troubling though is that the assigning teacher didn't seem to consider that the assignment might be offensive to other students in class in the first place.

The school has since agreed to stop including the nazi salute in history presentations, but many believe the damage has already been done.

This is hardly the first time the nazi salute has appeared in schools in America.

Most recently, a group of High School students in Wisconsin performed it in a group photo as a gag, even though it was distressing to a few students.

Hateful actions, even if they're not necessarily intended to be, are sadly contagious and educators have a responsibility to quell them rather than put them in their curriculum. This is especially important during this highly politically-charged time in America when racism and bigotry have been elevated by a number of divisive groups.

This hate can end with our children as long as we protect them from it as much as we can.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

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"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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