Lawmakers condemn Carroll ISD’s Holocaust commentary
A North Texas school official is criticized for telling teachers if they want their students to read a book on the Holocaust, they must also present one with the “opposite point of view.”
The comment was made during a training session at the Carroll Independent School District in Southlake, Texas, when an administrator was discussing how teachers should implement a new Texas law, known as anti-criticism racial theory legislation. “, which aims to restrict the way teachers can discuss race and racism in the classroom.
When Republicans pushed the bill in the regular legislative session earlier this year, critics said it was an attempt to whitewash history. Now they say this incident shows the fear has come to fruition.
A parent whose Grade 10 daughter attends high school at Carroll ISD said last week her daughter sent him pictures of her class, where teachers had their shelves covered.
Then a recording first obtained by NBC News began to circulate.
We hear Gina Peddy from the Carroll Independent School District: âJust try to remember the concepts of [Texas House Bill] 3979. And make sure that … if you have a book on the Holocaust, that you have one that opposes it, that has other perspectives.
The teachers in the room react audibly by saying, âHow do you oppose the Holocaust? What?”
The backlash was swift.
âThere are no opposing views on the Holocaust because we call it Holocaust denial, and Holocaust denial is anti-Semitism. We will not tolerate anti-Semitism being taught in our schools, âsaid Cheryl Drazin, vice-president of the Anti-Defamation League’s central division.
Carroll ISD Superintendent Lane Ledbetter released an apologizing statement to parents on Thursday, saying: âAs the Superintendent of Schools, I express my sincere apologies for the online article and report posted today. no case saying that the Holocaust was nothing less than a terrible event in history. Additionally, we recognize that there are no two sides to the Holocaust. As we continue to work on bringing the Holocaust to life. implementation of HB 3979, we also understand that this bill does not require an opposing view on historical facts. As a district, we will work to add clarity to our expectations of teachers and once again. no longer apologize for any damage or confusion this may have caused. “
It comes as teachers in Texas grapple with new law passed by the Republican-led legislature that limits how teachers can discuss issues of race and racism in the classroom.
The GOP initiative has been called the opposite of âcritical race theory,â which is a collegial concept. Democrats and education advocates fiercely opposed the bill.
“The goal [of the bill] was to act as a statewide deterrent and make teachers fearful of having honest conversations about race with their students, whose conversations are more needed now than they were ever needed before, â said Rep. James Talarico, D-Round Roche.
Democrats say the Southlake incident is proof that this fear is coming to fruition, but Republicans who backed the bill, like State Senator Kelly Hancock, say the administrator’s actions school were a misinterpretation of the law.
He tweeted: âSchool administrators should know the difference between factual historical events and fiction. Southlake was wrong. There is no legislation suggesting the actions promoted by this administrator. ”
In response to a request for comment from Capital Tonight, Republican State Senator Bryan Hughes, who has been a strong supporter of the legislation, issued a statement saying, “This is not a problem. The legislation condemns the evils of racism. and does not question horrors like the Holocaust. Any confusion about this has been clarified in Senate Bill 3. Our teachers are empowered and expected to call evil for what ‘it is. We trust them to do it. ”
Opponents of the policy say limiting discussion of race and racism in the context of historical or current events is detrimental.
âThere shouldn’t be a standpoint opposed to white supremacy, there shouldn’t be a standpoint against the Holocaust. And the bill forces teachers to find that opposite point of view, which I think is immoral. And I think it’s bad for our students, âTalarico said.
âIt is incredibly distressing to see that anyone would regard hatred or learning about racism as a partisan issue. And I think until we can change that mindset and recognize that fighting prejudice and bigotry is absolutely non-partisan, it’s just the right thing to do and to move us forward as company, we’re going to add a lot of problems, âDrazin said.
Parents like Kapinos say this incident shows legislation is stifling conversations about race and the impact of racism in school.
“This is really just another example of why we need that kind of cultural competence, or diversity and equity, whatever you want to call the education that we lack here,” said declared Kapinos.
A state senator calls on the state education commissioner to take immediate action. In a statement, Democratic Senator Jose Menendez said he wanted a review of how schools are implementing the new curriculum law.
State teachers’ unions are also stepping in, saying, “These intentionally confusing constraints on an honest curriculum have no place in our public schools in Texas or elsewhere.”