The 8th graders at White County Middle School received a controversial creative writing assignment the week of August 7. The instructor in question has been identified as Jessica Griffith, an English and Language Arts teacher at the institution. Griffith gave the students the following writing prompt, “I didn’t mean to kill her. I only wanted to hurt her, but now her ghost follows me everywhere.”
One student went to his mother since he was concerned with the homework. The child’s mother, Shelly Davis, claimed that her son confided in her that thinking about the assignment caused him to experience “dark places” in his head. Davis contacted the school with the intention of speaking with Griffith, but ended up speaking with the principal. The principal gave Davis his word that the issue would be resolved.
Davis and Griffith eventually met in person. In the meeting, Griffith apologized to Davis and explained that she was rushing to give the students a prompt at the end of class.
Griffith later apologized in writing to her pupils and their parents. Griffith explains in her letter of apologies that she wanted to present the students with a “unique challenge” and that the assignment was intended to stimulate creative thinking. She acknowledges that the topic of the writing challenge was improper and did not provide a secure learning environment for her kids after that. Griffith stated that she fully accepts responsibility for her acts and has pleaded for mercy and grace over her “lapse in judgment.”
The parents and community, according to a local news report by WMV4, are not pleased with the apologetic letter. They want Griffith to be punished in some way for “grooming” the kids in a way that they deem improper.
A school board member named Dewayne Howard told the reporters that he thinks Griffith ought to have been suspended right away. Howard is supported by Pastor Dale Walker of the Tennessee Pastors Network. Davis said she hopes Griffith has learnt from her mistakes but doesn’t want the instructor to lose her job.