A school district in Texas instructed teachers to present “two sides” of the Holocaust, recommending that students read an alternative “perspective” on the murder of 6 million Jews during World War II.
And now it’s trying to backtrack.
It is NBC that reported the scandal developed when a top administrator in the Carroll Independent School District in Southlake advised teachers “if they have a book about the Holocaust in their classroom, they should also offer students access to a book from an ‘opposing’ perspective.”
The network said those details were confirmed by an audio recording it obtained.
It reportedly was Gina Peddy, a curriculum and instruction official, who had commented during a training session on books for teachers to use.
“The training came four days after the Carroll school board, responding to a parent’s complaint, voted to reprimand a fourth grade teacher who had kept an anti-racism book in her classroom,” the report said.
Peddy cited a Texas law that requires teachers to present multiple perspectives when discussing “controversial” topics.
“And make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust,” Peddy said, “that you have one that has an opposing, that has other perspectives.”
One teacher questioned how one would “oppose the Holocaust,” and Peddy said, “Believe me, That’s come up.”
A furor followed the revelation of the comments.
But now, The Daily Beast says the district is walking back the problem.
“During the conversations with teachers during last week’s meeting, the comments made were in no way to convey that the Holocaust was anything less than a terrible event in history,” Carroll Superintendent Lane Ledbetter explained on social media.
“Additionally, we recognize there are not two sides of the Holocaust.”
He continued, “As we continue to work through implementation of HB3979, we also understand this bill does not require an opposing viewpoint on historical facts. As a district we will work to add clarity to our expectations for teachers and once again apologize for any hurt or confusion this has caused.”
District spokeswoman Karen Fitzgerald also explained:
“Our district recognizes that all Texas teachers are in a precarious position with the latest legal requirements. Our purpose is to support our teachers in ensuring they have all of the professional development, resources and materials needed. Our district has not and will not mandate books be removed nor will we mandate that classroom libraries be unavailable.”
Clay Robison, of the Texas State Teachers Association, said in the network report that the new law doesn’t deal with classroom libraries, and Carroll concerns are an “overreaction.”
“We find it reprehensible for an educator to require a Holocaust denier to get equal treatment with the facts of history. That’s absurd. It’s worse than absurd. And this law does not require it,” Robison said.
And state Sen. Bryan Hughes, who wrote the bill, rejected the concept that it requires teachers to provide views such as one that would promote the Holocaust.
“That’s not what the bill says,” Hughes told the network.
NBC reported several Carroll teachers, who were given anonymity, expressed fear that they would be punished for having books in their classes.
“There are no children’s books that show the ‘opposing perspective’ of the Holocaust or the ‘opposing perspective’ of slavery. Are we supposed to get rid of all of the books on those subjects?” one of the teachers said.
Parents in the district have expressed concern over various agenda-driven items that have been introduced in the district, such as a Tiffany Jewell book called “This Book Is Anti-Racist.”
The school board formally reprimanded the teacher who provided it to a student.
Administrators then sent a note to teachers to review the “multiple perspectives” offered in classroom libraries.
A report from WTVA explained the agenda largely has been driven by the advance of Critical Race Theory in schools, a “hot-button issue.”
“Critical Race Theory recognizes that systemic racism is part of American society and challenges the beliefs that allow it to flourish. While the theory was started decades ago as a way to examine how laws and systems promote inequality, it has taken on new urgency since a series of killings last year of Black Americans by police officers, which led to a national reckoning on race,” the station reported.
The new notes that teachers cannot be required to address such controversies, but if they do, they must include “contending perspectives.”
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