The principal of Getwell Elementary School in Tennessee knew teachers needed to get up their students’ test scores after the school ranked poorly in academics.
But now, the principal, Tina Smith, is under fire after she tried to “motivate” teachers with an unusual method, according to Fox 13.
In 2014-2015, the school ranked in the lower 50 percent for math and reading on Public School Review.
Smith wanted to symbolically “bury” the school’s past poor performance, so she held a mock funeral complete with a “dead” baby doll.
She put the doll in a casket along with a flyer showing a cartoon of a student that read, “In loving memory of Madam 2 to 3 years behind.”
The principal asked staff members to attend the mock funeral and even act as if they were mourning.
However, many schools workers found the display unsettling. Keith Williams with the Shelby County Teachers Association told Fox 13:
“She has insulted those people. That is an insult — to invite me back to school the first day for a funeral. Some of the teachers who had recently had challenges with childbirth were overwhelmed and just left the room. Some of them are off today because of it.”
A spokesperson for Shelby Public Schools told Yahoo Lifestyle that the mock funeral “aimed to renew the focus and commitment of staff members in the new year.”
The spokesperson said Smith realized she may have missed the mark and apologized to the school workers:
“However, after speaking with a few concerned staff members, the principal acknowledged how the activity could be seen as insensitive and personally apologized to the entire staff.”
Williams told Fox 13 that the mock funeral should have never happened:
“If you think, by any stretch of the imagination, that burying a child in the presence of mostly women is symbolic of improving instruction, something is wrong with you.”
The principal did not lose her job at the school. It’s unclear if any disciplinary action was taken.