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.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.