Tennessee principal criticized after throwing ‘mock funeral’ in order to inspire teachers

A Tennessee school principal came under fire after holding the “mock funeral” of a baby last week in a bid to inspire teachers to improve test scores.

Getwell Elementary School Principal Tina Smith reportedly said she held the “mock funeral” as a way to push teachers to work harder -- but the idea did not pan out. FOX13 obtained photos of the event, which appeared to show a casket with a baby doll inside. Flyers at the event stated: “In loving memory of Ms. 2 to 3 years behind."

Keith Williams, the executive director of the Shelby County Teachers Association, told FOX13 Memphis the “mock funeral” was an “insult” and particularly “backfired” with some educators who've had “challenges with childbirth.”

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“Some of the teachers who had recently had challenges with childbirth were overwhelmed and just left the room,” he said. “Some of them are off today because of it.”

The Memphis elementary school was ranked in the 50th percentile of “all 1,627 schools in Tennessee for the 2014-15 school year,” according to Public School Review.

Shelby County Schools told Fox News in a statement the basis of the activity was to “eliminate negativity and excuses associated with previous years of poor academic performance.”

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“Discussions focused on positive strategies and expectations for helping all students be successful. 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,” the school district stated.