When you were learning about the Holocaust and Hitler, it’s natural to try to understand what the Nazis were thinking — to try to put yourself into their minds to understand why they did what they did. Well, one 10th grade English teacher asked something similar of her students, but her notion to turn the table and have children write apersuasive essay in favor of the Nazis took the assignment way too far.
“You must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!,” the teacher was reported to have instructed the students.
We do understand the teaching angle here, but was this really the right way to go about it?
The teacher from the Albany school was not identified, but the Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard assured the parents and community that steps were being taken to both rectify the incident with the teacher and make sure that the entire school remains sensitive to the tragedy of the Holocaust.
"It displayed a level of insensitivity that we absolutely will not tolerate in our school community," Wyngaard said, "I am deeply apologetic to all of our students, all of our families and the entire community."
So far, Wyngaard says the teacher may not return to the school before the end of the year, if she is permitted to return at all, and that the district will be welcoming sensitivity trainers from the Anti-Defamation League to work with the students and staff of the school before the end of the year.
As CNN reports, the Superintendent told the Times Union that she thinks the assignment was improperly worded, but she does not think the teacher’s intent was “to cause any insensitivities to our families of Jewish faith.”
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