“There are no children’s books that show the ‘opposing perspective’ of the Holocaust or the ‘opposing perspective’ of slavery.”
By David Hellerman, World Israel News
In a secret audio recording obtained by NBC News, a Texas school district administrator advised teachers to provide an “opposing” perspective on the Holocaust.
Gina Peddy, the executive director of curriculum and instruction for the Carroll independent school district in Southlake, near Fort Worth was training teachers last Friday on what books teachers could have in classroom libraries. The training was secretly recorded by one of the educational staff.
In the recording, Peddy first mentions a new Texas law known as House Bill 3979, which instructs teachers to present students with multiple perspectives when discussing “widely debated and currently controversial” issues. When the bill was signed into law in June, Governor Greg Abbott said it was aimed at abolishing the teaching of critical race theory in Texas schools.
Critical race theory is an academic concept which argues that racism isn’t just a result of individual prejudices, but systemically ingrained in policies and legal systems.
“Just try to remember the concepts of 3979,” Peddy is heard saying. “And make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust, that you have one that has an opposing — that has other perspectives.”
The audio records the teachers’ shock
“How do you oppose the Holocaust?” asks one teacher
“Believe me, that’s come up.” Peddy responds.
NEW: A school administrator in Southlake, Texas, advised teachers last week that if they have a book about the Holocaust in their classroom, they should also have a book with an “opposing” perspective.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 14, 2021
Another teacher is then heard asking if historical novels the perspective of the Jewish victims, such as “Number the Stars,” by Lois Lowry need to be pulled from the classrooms.
State school officials contacted by NBC News said Peddy “misinterpreted” and “overreacted” to the new law.
“Clay Robison, a spokesman for the Texas State Teachers Association, a union representing educators, said there’s nothing in the new Texas law explicitly dealing with classroom libraries. Robison said the book guidelines at Carroll, a suburban school district near Fort Worth, are an ‘overreaction’ and a ‘misinterpretation’ of the law. Three other Texas education policy experts agreed,” NBC News reported.
“We find it reprehensible for an educator to require a Holocaust denier to get equal treatment with the facts of history,” Robison told NBC News. “That’s absurd. It’s worse than absurd. And this law does not require it.”
Six of the teachers who were present for Peddy’s training session told NBC News that administrators had sent mixed messages about what the new Texas law meant for their classrooms.
“Teachers are literally afraid that we’re going to be punished for having books in our classes,” one elementary school teacher told NBC News anonymously, for fear of being punished for publicly sharing concerns. “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?”
The Carroll school district has around 8,500 K-12 students in 11 schools.