According to the New York Times (12 April 2013) a high school English teacher in Albany, New York on Monday asked students to write a persuasive essay on why Jews are evil and the source of our problems.
The assignment stated: “You do not have a choice in your position: you must argue that Jews are evil, and…convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!”
This assignment echoed a similar assignment given to students in Georgia and New York City earlier this year instructing students to calculate math problems by using number of slave whippings and killings.
Yes, these school assignments–to our children–are shocking and appalling.
Although they call these teachers giving these assignments, these are not real educators, but rather bigots given a classroom pulpit.
Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, the school district superintendent, said: “Obviously, we have a severe lack of judgment and a horrible level of insensitivity.”
But this “apology” does not go far enough–in fact, there is no apology–just excuses and calls for sensitivity training.
Wyngaard should’ve called this behavior for what it is–discrimination, anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hatred, and announced the firing of the teacher–who shouldn’t be teaching anyone, anything!
With the Holocaust Remembrance Day this past Monday, April 8–this teacher added insult to injury in making such an assignment.
While teaching students how to write persuasively and argue different points of view can mean that sometimes you have to argue “the other side”; it crosses the line to assign students to write about why a whole race of people are evil, and on top of it to force them all to take that position.
According to CNews, a third of the students stood up and refused to complete the assignment–thankfully, there are some good and decent people left in this world.
Excuses are not apologies. Sensitivity training is not removal of a hateful bigot. And this school superintendent should’ve had the ethical backbone and courage to join the students who stood against this wrong.
These “teachers” and school superintendent have at least six million reasons to do better, much better.
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)