Teacher Who Made Students Re-Enact The Holocaust Placed On Leave
The teacher at a Washington DC school who asked her third-grade students to re-enact scenes from the Holocaust has been placed on leave.
Third-graders at Watkins Elementary School were reportedly told to pretend to be on a train to a concentration camp, act as though they were dying in a gas chamber, re-enact digging mass graves and simulate shooting victims.
A Jewish student was also asked to play the role of Adolf Hitler and told to pretend to commit suicide.
As per The Washington Post, the staff member also reportedly made antisemitic comments during the reenactment, allegedly telling children who asked why the Holocaust happened that the reason was ‘because the Jews ruined Christmas’.
Being third-graders, the students instructed to re-enact the Holocaust would be aged between eight and nine.
Watkins Elementary School Principal Scott Berkowitz wrote an email to parents saying, ‘I want to acknowledge the gravity of this poor instructional decision, as students should never be asked to act out or portray any atrocity, especially genocide, war, or murder.’
He explained that students had been in library class for a self-directed project they would present to classmates before breaking up for the end of term, but during their research time the teacher had them participate in her re-enactment of the Holocaust.
Parents told The Washington Post that their children had been instructed by the teacher not to tell anyone about it, but some students did speak to their homeroom teacher about what they’d been told to do.
The matter has now been reported to D.C. Public Schools’ Comprehensive Alternative Resolution and Equity Team, while the teacher will remain on leave pending an investigation into her actions.
A spokesperson for the DCPS said re-enacting parts of the Holocaust was ‘not an approved lesson plan’ and that they ‘sincerely apologise to our students and families who were subjected to this incident’.
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