An 11-year-old Tennessee girl was sent to the principal's office after shouting at fellow students to stop giving the Nazi 'Sieg Heil' salute, her father said.
Keith Jacks Gamble, chair of the Department of Economics and Finance at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreeboro, asked the public to send messages of support to his daughter in a tweet he posted Tuesday.
The dad said a history project at the McFadden School of Excellence involved a student playing Adolf Hitler for a "Living History" project. The student was to deliver the salute at the end of a speech.
But students started giving the salute on campus and allegedly bullied his daughter with the hand-raised-skyward gesture, the father said.
The girl told her classmates it was wrong to mimic the Nazi salute, Gamble said on social media.
"Each time, my daughter spoke out even thought she was told by a teacher 'not to address it.' She has been bullied by classmates and targeted personally with Nazi salutes, so school feels lonely sometimes," he tweeted.
During the history project's final rehearsal, the students returned the fake Hitler's salute, prompting Gamble's daughter to shout, "Stop it put your hands down!" her father said. The girl was upset, and she was removed from the room for being "disrespectful," Gamble tweeted. She was then sent to the principal's office.
James Evans, spokesman for Rutherford County Schools, said the student was not disciplined "or punished in any way for her concerns or actions," in an email to InsideEdition.com. "In fact, the school agrees the actions of the students were completely inappropriate [in returning the salute]," he said.
He described the final rehearsal as an incident in which "one student became upset and had an outburst. The teacher talked with her and tried to calm the student, but was unable to do so. The teacher took her to the hallway for approximately two minutes to calm down, but to no avail."
The student was then taken to the principal "to talk about what had happened" and left after about five minutes, Evans said.
The principal investigated the student's concerns and was able to confirm two times when the salute was given outside rehearsals, he said. A meeting was held with all fifth-grade students "to put a stop to any further instances," Evans said.
The school also sent a note to parents saying officials did not condone any actions that "can be interpreted as hate-filled or insensitive.
The "Living History" project will no longer contain a depiction of Hitler or the Nazi salute, Evans said.