An administrator for the Carroll Independent School District in Southlake, Texas, recently told teachers that if they have any book in their classroom that deals with the topic of the Holocaust, they also need to provide students with information that shows an “opposing” perspective to the issue.
NBC News obtained an audio recording in which teachers were told to present the Holocaust from at least two points of view:
Gina Peddy, the Carroll school district’s executive director of curriculum and instruction, made the comment Friday afternoon during a training session on which books teachers can have in classroom libraries. 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.
In the recording, Peddy tells teachers working for the school district:
“Just try to remember the concepts of [House Bill] 3979,” Peddy said in the recording, referring to a new Texas law that requires teachers to present multiple perspectives when discussing “widely debated and currently controversial” issues. “And make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust,” Peddy continued, “that you have one that has an opposing, that has other perspectives.”
One of the teachers asked: “How do you oppose the Holocaust?”
“Believe me. That’s come up.”
“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.”
Many educators say they’re terrified they’re going to run afoul of the state law and wind up losing their jobs as a result, with one elementary school teacher noting:
“Teachers are literally afraid that we’re going to be punished for having books in our 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?”
What’s happening in Southlake is part of a much larger movement being pushed by right-wing interest groups and conservative politicians who seem determined to squelch all debate over issues such as race, LGBTQ rights, and the ugly side of American history.
Caught in the middle of this latest culture war being conducted by those on the right are teachers and students:
“I am offended as hell by somebody who says I should have an opposing view to the Holocaust in my library,” a teacher said, her voice quavering.
Another replied: “They don’t understand what they have done. And they are going to lose incredible teachers, myself potentially being with them.”
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